NEW YORK—Devoting thousands of words to what he called “one of the major issues facing Americans today,” New York Times op-ed writer David Brooks decried what he viewed as the incivility of modern plumbing Wednesday after tripping on his own feet and falling headfirst into a toilet. “I was struck recently by an oft-endured but rarely discussed cruelty of our current era, as an innocuous attempt to relieve myself quickly spiraled into a saga of pain, embarrassment, and regret,” said the celebrated columnist and bestselling author of The Second Mountain, detailing how he had come to understand the coarse and barbaric nature of the widespread fluid-conveyance system after careening into the bathroom and landing with his face planted squarely in the toilet bowl, where he then struggled vainly for several minutes in an attempt to dislodge himself. “I can only imagine what it must be like for a young person growing up now. Even the smallest misstep can find them with their faces submerged in urine and fecal matter, wildly flailing their arms until they accidentally pull the flush lever, effectively giving themselves a swirly. Is this the world we want for the next generation—one where their garbled shrieks echo up from the porcelain basin without anyone coming to their aid? At times like these, we seem almost impossibly far from the graceful latrines and outhouses enjoyed by our forefathers.” Brooks reportedly appeared on PBS NewsHour to bemoan the harsh state of marriage in the U.S., expressing regret that his wife had been too busy doubling over with laughter to help her husband out of a jam.