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Man drops phone down toilet, then drops self. Stuck for six hours

In a depressingly familiar tale, a Chinese man tries to fetch his phone, having dropped it in the loo. Firemen are called.

These toilets are especially difficult to maneuver. AutisticGlobetrotting/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

No, I'm not going to show you the pictures.

We'll simply discuss the philosophy here.

The facts appear to be these: a man in the city of Jianyang in Sichuan province, China, availed himself of the public restroom.

In circumstances that might be familiar to some, at the conclusion of his business his smartphone disappeared down the toilet.

So many times history has shown that once a phone disappears -- be it on railway tracks or into lakes -- it's not worth trying to retrieve them.

Yet so great is people's attachment to their phones, so great is their fear that they will be limbless and lifeless without them, that they cease thinking and start panicking.

In this case, as the Daily Mail reports (oh, yes, with pictures), Chen Ho decided to stick his arm as far down as it would go.

Sadly, he didn't have the use of, say, a measurement app to guide his way. His arm got stuck, and there he stayed for six hours. It took firemen to rescue him from his pain and embarrassment.

The Mail quotes him as observing: "The smell was appalling and by the time firemen arrived my arm was terribly swollen. I forgot I had a cut on my hand and I think it got infected."

A 2011 study insisted that 19 percent of people have, at one time or another, dropped their cell phones down the toilet. In China, news crews seem regularly to visit toilets to film the denouements. Here's one video from 2013. And another from 2010.

If it is the case that almost one in five are so careless, you'd imagine that precautionary measures would be routinely taken to prevent such a mishap. Never keep your cell phone in your back pocket, for example.

But if it does happen, perhaps it's worth considering that, even if retrieved, it's unlikely the phone will ever be the same again. It's like losing a lover who's been unfaithful and then expecting everything to be back to normal.

Chen Ho explained his thoughts so well: "I couldn't bear the thought of not having it. But getting it back did me no good -- the thing was ruined."

Sometimes we ruin things. This is no reason to ruin ourselves too.