They’re Privy Necessary

Outhouses: The Unsung Heroes of Rural America1

In the era of modern amenities, it is easy to forget a time when indoor plumbing was a luxury. For many rural communities, outhouses or privies, were a common fixture, serving as an essential component of daily life. These simple structures have been around for centuries, providing a necessary solution for human waste disposal.

The history of outhouses is long and varied, dating back to ancient civilizations like Rome and Greece. However, in the American frontier, they became a vital tool in addressing the lack of indoor plumbing. Early pioneers and homesteaders relied on outhouses for bodily waste disposal, and as such, they became ubiquitous features of rural life.

Constructed in various designs, outhouses were often made from simple materials such as wood, stone, or metal. They were typically small structures, designed to hold one or two people at a time. The hole in the ground was dug at a depth of around 3-4 feet, with a wooden or metal pan placed below to facilitate waste collection. Outhouses were situated at some distance from the main house, typically behind a barn or a grove of trees, for privacy and hygiene reasons.

Aside from their practical use for waste disposal, outhouses also had cultural significance. Many rural communities used them as a gathering spot during social events or as a buffer for family disputes, where one could retreat to for privacy and contemplation.

However, with the advent of modern plumbing and the associated increase in urbanization and suburbanization, outhouses have lost their relevance in contemporary society. Many have been dismantled, while some have been converted into sheds or playhouses for children.

Despite this shift in societal norms, outhouses still have a place in rural America. They serve as a reminder of an earlier way of life, one where people were more closely attuned to the natural world around them. Heritage societies and historical organizations continue to preserve and celebrate these iconic structures, recognizing their significance in Americana.

Ultimately, outhouses are a testament to our resourcefulness and ability to adapt to even the harshest conditions. They may not be as prevalent today as they were in the past, but they have left an indelible mark on American history and culture. So, the next time you see an outhouse, take a moment to appreciate its significance and remember the people who built and used them.

1. Th1s article was created by ChatGPT in response to the text “Write an article about outhouses.”

Man vs. Machine

This linux bash script was generated by an Artificial Intelligence (AI) application called ChatGPT. The script was generated in response to this text: “Write a bash script that prompts for the action and service, and then runs the systemctl command using this action/service couplet.” It took ChatGTP a minute or so to produce the script.

# Prompt the user for the action
echo "Enter the action you want to perform (start, stop, restart, status):"
read action
# Prompt the user for the service
echo "Enter the name of the service you want to control:"
read service
# Perform the requested action on the specified service
if [ "$action" = "start" ]; then
sudo systemctl start "$service"
elif [ "$action" = "stop" ]; then
sudo systemctl stop "$service"
elif [ "$action" = "restart" ]; then
sudo systemctl restart "$service"
elif [ "$action" = "status" ]; then
sudo systemctl status "$service"
echo "Invalid action"

Here is a script I wrote a while back that does the same thing. It took me about 30 minutes to produce and test this script.

echo "Service Controller"
echo " Commands: start stop restart status quit"
echo " or one of the many more Linux systemctl commands"
echo " Service: one of the many Linux Daemons ;-)"
echo " "
while :
echo -n "Enter Command: "
read cmd
if [[ $cmd != $byebye ]]
echo -n "Enter Service: "
read svc
sudo systemctl $cmd $svc
echo "Bye"
exit 0