Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Tooshlights - Yiddish Slang Gives Name to Traffic Signals for Public Restroom Access


Every now and then we come across a story in the news that makes us want to say "You just can't make this stuff up." Today is such a day. 

Flipping through yesterday's Wall Street Journal, we read Ralph Gardner Jr.'s regular column titled Urban Gardner

In the column titled Getting the Go-Ahead to Go, Gardner writes about a new system called Tooshlights that displays red and green lights above public restroom stalls. It was invented by Allen Klevens, a Las Vegas entrepreneur, composer, and musician who partnered with Todd Bermann, a contractor who works on the Hollywood Bowl's audio-visual systems. 

As Gardner reports,
The problem I'm thinking of arises when you visit a public restroom, though I suppose it can also happen at home. You step into the comfort station at the airport, Yankee Stadium, or your local movie house and see dozens of stalls.
Some are occupied. Others aren't. Some merely appear busy because their doors are slammed shut. Others look free but are occupied because their residents neglected to lock the door.
So, how are you supposed to tell the difference? Enter Tooshlights, red-and-green traffic signals for the bathroom-goer.
The system, already installed 85 stalls at the Hollywood Bowl, is slated to appear in shopping malls, stadiums, and distribution centers.

So where did the name Tooshlights come from? Klevens says that it comes from his daughter's nickname - Toosh - because she had a cute little toosh when she was a baby. 

David Curwin, who writes the Balashon - Hebrew Language Detective blog, confirms that "even the most assimilated Jews in America know that tush (and the alternate spelling toosh) is Yiddish for buttocks." In Hebrew toosh also has other meanings -- marker and shower head.

The entrepreneurs are planning to release a smartphone app this year for use at large stadiums that will show you the nearest restroom to your seat and how many stalls are available.

Here is the company's video showing how the system works. Watch for it at a theater or stadium near you, and know where to go.

(A SPECIAL NOTE FOR NEW EMAIL SUBSCRIBERS:  THE VIDEO IS NOT VIEWABLE DIRECTLY FROM THE EMAIL THAT YOU GET EACH DAY.  YOU MUST CLICK ON THE TITLE AT THE TOP OF THE EMAIL TO REACH THE JEWISH HUMOR CENTRAL WEBSITE, FROM WHICH YOU CLICK ON THE PLAY BUTTON IN THE VIDEO IMAGE TO START THE VIDEO.)