I was comfortably sitting and relaxing this morning, as I read my Sunday newspaper. Finishing the sports page, and preparing to check the business section, I just happened to glance to my left. The sight I saw, sent chills up my spine, and left me with a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. I was witness to a brown and barren cardboard tube with less than two squares of toilet paper, precariously dangling from its bottom edge. In an instant, a once promising day, with plans for a brisk early morning walk, in the cool shade of enormous oak trees, followed by a hearty breakfast at my favorite local diner, was possibly in jeopardy.
Has this ever happened to you? Were your first thoughts, to frantically search for a box of facial tissues within easy reach, or pray someone was nearby to hear your pitiful cries for help? Most of the time we take toilet paper for granted. It’s one of man’s greatest inventions, the most widely used product in the world, and an indispensable part of our daily lives. We all love toilet paper, and we all need toilet paper, but unless we’re faced with the horrific scenario discussed above, we usually don’t think about it very much.
I did some research on the history of toilet paper, and learned that the Chinese invented toilet paper around the 6th century AD? When I read this, I loudly exclaimed, “Come on, not toilet paper!” The Chinese were the first to develop and use, gunpowder, fireworks, the compass, printing presses, spaghetti, and the toothbrush. That’s a pretty impressive list from a country that now sells us appliances that break after two weeks. Can’t Americans at least have some credit for furthering the use and quality of modern-day toilet paper? Maybe, if we give the Chinese the Kardashians, they’ll give us the rights to the invention of toilet paper – or maybe not.
Have any of you ever wondered where all the toilet paper disappears to all the time? If you have kids, you know what it’s like to face an empty roll at three in the morning. Using public restrooms is just as bad. There’s nothing more horrifying than entering a stall and finding out too late, the toilet paper dispenser contains only the memory of that soft and comforting white tissue. Has anybody ever figured out where it all goes? Are people eating it to get more fiber in their diet?
I may have an answer for the disappearance of large quantities of my own toilet paper. I think my dog, Chase is smarter than he lets on. I believe he may be a genius dog, and is sneaking in to use my bathroom. Besides lay down, beg and rollover, I may have to add, “Use the facilities” to his list of clever and entertaining tricks. He could be the next, big winner of “America’s Got Talent.” Even Simon Cowell would be impressed with his performance.
I don’t know about you, but as a kid, for some reason, toilet paper was extremely embarrassing to me. I remember being a teenager, and heading to the grocery store to pick up a few items for my mom. It always seemed that at the top of the list written in bold letters were the words TP. It’s funny how, as you get older things change. Today, I’ll go to the store when toilet papers on sale and stock-up with a year’s supply. Pushing my cart through the store with nothing but toilet paper piled five or six feet high, I’ll then pull out a stack of money-saving coupons, and won’t blink an eye when the checker gets on the loudspeaker, and at a decibel level louder than a roaring jet engine announces, “Price check at register five for toilet paper. Price check at five for the soft as a baby’s bottom toilet paper in the forty-eight-roll, super-size pack.”
Except for those Charmin commercials with the animated bear family, or that spokeswoman for Cottonelle, talking about “wiping bums” in an English accent, I never see any advertising for what’s now commonly called bathroom tissue. I have two questions concerning toilet paper commercials. First of all; why wouldn’t you just throw the bums a roll or two, and walk away? Secondly, do you really think that bears use toilet paper?
When I was a kid, my grandfather would always answer every obvious question with this statement. “Well, do Bears poop in the woods?” Of course, he used different and more colorful wording, but you get the idea. I looked into this, to see if bears actually do their business in woodlands and forests, or more importantly; do they use toilet paper? I did a little research, and found out, woods may not be a bears first choice. For many years, there have been unsubstantiated witness accounts of these omnivorous mammals using conveniently located portable toilets in our National Parks.
Lately, rumors have been circulating around the country of bears which have broken into houses, trailers and cabins in search of not only food, but possibly bathroom facilities as well. Homeowner’s have complained to local authorities that bears upon entering homes, have been destroying magazines, newspapers and other reading material. Other complaints are: the over-use of toilet paper, seats being left in the up position, and paw marks left on hand towels. It has also been reported that the bears may believe that flushing is optional. It should be noted,that most of this is speculation. No positive photographic evidence has yet to be produced. As a warning, though; if you live in the proximity of bear habitats, be sure to keep a spare roll of TP next to the toilet. I know how much of a bear I can be in the morning when I reach over and feel an empty roll.
Here’s something, not commonly known about toilet paper. It seems, very rich people enjoy better toilet paper than the average person? Strangely, this disturbs me. I may have to write my congressman, and demand equality among toilet paper users. Most toilet paper comes in different plies or thicknesses. It’s also scientifically tested and categorized by size, weight, roughness, softness, chemical residue, water absorption, and my personal favorite, “finger break-through resistance.” The higher the ply, the better the quality of the toilet paper. Two-ply toilet paper is the standard quality used in most homes. It consists of two layers of tissue stacked on top of each other. The comfort level is somewhere between “not too bad,” and “that tickled a little bit.” One ply is a lower grade. It’s usually light brown, thin and rough like sandpaper, looks like a miniature paper towel, and can be found in most Chinese restaurant bathrooms.
When I was younger I often heard incredible, magical, and wondrous stories of toilet paper that was three-ply, four-ply or dare I even say it – five-ply. I’ll bet, only people like Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, and Jeff Zuckerberg can afford it. Why do you think politicians spend millions of dollars, and endure years of continuous campaigning to become President? No, it’s not Air Force one, incredible power, free room and board, and meals prepared by master chefs. It’s soft and magnificent toilet paper that most people can only dream about. Did you ever see lottery winners on television holding up those big checks? They always seem so happy, don’t they? Do you know why? They’re not thinking about mansions, cars, and vacations. They’re thinking, “I can’t wait to get my hands on some of that magnificent, five-ply toilet paper I’ve heard about”
I guess it’s time to go, and I don’t just mean that literally. Now all I have to do is find some toilet paper. I know I bought at least twenty rolls last week at Sam’s Club. Oh, there’s a roll. Now, all I need is some reading material, and I’m all set. Maybe my wife can help me. “Honey, have you seen the newspaper? No, Well, what about Chase? I haven’t seen him in a while. What do you mean he’s in the bathroom?”