A happy place is invaded for the prize of gold

We all have our “happy place,” right?

You know, that place that makes you forget all the negative things in our respective lives and puts us in a mental state that make everything else at least bearable for a bit. For many in this community, it might be the beach, or the inland bays or a tree stand on a chilly morning.

It doesn’t even really have to be a physical location, this happy place. Sometimes it’s as simple as putting on headphones and listening to music that soothes the soul or clears out the old cobwebs from the mind, or curling up with a book that can mentally transport you to a different place or time. It’s your happy place. It can be wherever you’d like it to be.

Plus — and this is incredibly important to remember — you don’t have to share your happy place with anyone else. You don’t have to take anybody there. You don’t have to tell anybody the secret powers it holds. You don’t even have to tell anybody where it is, or that it even exists. Again, it’s yours. All yours.

Personally, I treasure mine. It is my go-to when the stress starts getting to me or I need a break from the duties of a father or, sometimes, because it’s just a place I absolutely need to be at for one reason or another. But, as I said before, it’s my happy place, and I don’t like giving away its secret identity.

But it was very much on my mind when I read the following lead sentence in a story in The Guardian: “A second man has been arrested over the theft of an 18-carat solid gold toilet valued at £4.8m from Blenheim Palace.”

Obviously intrigued, I had to continue reading. I mean, there were so many questions in my head. Who was the first man? What is Blenheim Palace? How does one secure an 18-carat solid gold toilet? And, in a follow-up question, why would somebody secure an 18-carat solid gold toilet? How much money is £4.8m (nearly $6 million, it would seem)?

Let’s take a look at this potty caper from the beginning.

Blenheim Palace, as it turns out, is the birthplace of Winston Churchill, and is located in Woodstock, Oxfordshire — not to be confused with Woodstock, N.Y., where, you know, other cool stuff once took place. Also, according to the Guardian story, “Blenheim Palace is the ancestral seat of the Duke of Marlborough.”

It just makes sense that an ancestral seat would be a golden seat, right?

Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan designed the toilet, named “America,” because, well, of course it would be named America. The golden potty was actually plumbed in and was available for visitors to use, but I could not find any confirmation if there were solid gold newspapers stashed next to the “Golden Throne of Blenheim.”

Editor’s note: I also found zero reference to the “Golden Throne of Blenheim,” but, tell me that doesn’t sound really super cool. I really need a second gig naming famous toilets around the world.

Cattelan reportedly created the toilet as a piece of art to bemoan the exaggerated importance we place on money, and, as Guardian columnist Jonathan Jones wrote, “It is a magnificent gesture of contempt for money.”

Jones continued: “The magic values the art world attaches to conceptual art are comically reduced by this heist to the price of its materials — even though, melted down, it would be ‘worth’ less than it might fetch in an art auction.”

According to authorities, police were called to the palace on Saturday, Sept. 14, just before 5 a.m., in regards to a burglary. They found significant damage and flooding, since, as we said earlier, it had been plumbed in and ready for, well, action. Thames Valley police said they arrested a 36-year-old man on suspicion of conspiracy to burgle before they released him under investigation. A 66-year-old man was also arrested on suspicion of burglary and released on bail until October, according to police.

So, I hope these are leads that don’t get flushed away.

The artist of the golden potty was contacted by Sky.com for his comments on the theft, and he seemed to take the news in good spirit.

“I always liked heist movies, and finally I’m in one of them,” joked Cattelan. “Dear thieves, please, if you are reading this, let me know how much you like the piece and how it feels to p-- on gold.”

I mean, we all kind of want to know, right? No? Just me? Then just forget I even brought it up.