Monday, April 30, 2007

Man Regrets Building Home Atop Giant Urinal

CANKER (AP) — When Travis Montpelier decided to build his house atop the world's largest urinal in Canker, Vermont, he didn't quite know what he was getting into.

"I wanted to be different," said Mr. Montpelier. "I also wanted to live in seclusion, away from everyone else, and how much further away from everyone can you get than sitting on top of a 10-story urinal?"

The 10-story, working urinal was built in the middle of Hastings Field by eccentric artist Hans Andersen over twenty years ago and is considered to be a marvel of modern artistic engineering. Travis Montpelier sought to rent space atop the gigantic urinal with the intention of building his future home. The home construction depleted most of his savings.

"Not only did I have to construct the house, but the materials and equipment had to be hefted 10 stories in the air. We had to install an elevator that runs down right next to the intake water pipe in the back of the urinal," he recalls.

However, after a few months, the notoriety wore off and Mr. Montpelier began to realize some of the drawbacks to his decision that he had not considered beforehand.

"You might think that living on top of a giant urinal is hey, really cool, but it's not. I don't get my seclusion because there are always tourists coming to investigate the giant urinal in the middle of nowhere with a house on top of it. Plus, it's a working urinal, and a lot of them forget to flush. After a few hundred people urinate in it on a hot summer day, do you realize what it smells like? Then I have to go down to the ground floor and flush it myself. Or if they do flush, it feels like an earthquake hit my house. I'd almost prefer that they didn't, if not for the smell."

He further explains, "I also have a real issue with heights that I didn't think about before. It had never really come to a head — no pun intended — until now. Now, every time the wind blows or the house shifts, I get scared that the urinal might just one day fall over, and that would be the end of my multi-million dollar investment, just debris scattered amongst giant boulders of urine-stained porcelain."

His fears are largely unfounded, though, since Hans Andersen insists that his creation is structurally sound. "There is no way it could collapse. I took measures to ensure it was built with all the environmental failsafes of any modern skyscraper. The shiny, white porcelain is just a polymer coating. It's got architecture going on inside of it that will warp your mind. That is where the true art comes in."


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