So, this morning I was thinking about toilet paper. (Never mind what I was doing at the time.) And it occurred to me that toilet paper is the keystone to civilized behaviour in the western hemisphere.
You know I’m right. All you have to do is walk into a public washroom that’s out of toilet paper, and you realize how superficial our veneer of civilization really is.
I know lots of countries get along just fine without TP, but I want to be there to see the expression on the first westerner who finds nothing but a pitcher of water in the bathroom instead of a cottony-soft roll. Or, hell, I’ll settle for seeing their faces while they watch this video:
(You know what bothers me most about this? Water might be “very-very clean”, but it’s also very-very wet. And there’s nothing to dry off with… except maybe the hand towel… if there is one… not that I’d want to touch it…)
Yep, toilet paper rules the modern western world. All our technological toys are as nothing next to it. People may profess utter dependence on their electronic devices, but would you rather be caught without your technology or without toilet paper? I’m thinking that sleek new iPhone isn’t very absorbent.
Centuries ago, people used whatever was at hand. Apparently wealthy Romans used silk or goose necks. (I presume the necks were no longer attached to the geese. I’ve been around geese enough to know you don’t wanna let those suckers anywhere near your tender bits.)
Grass, leaves, and pine cones worked for indigenous people, though I assume their elders passed down critical wisdom like ‘leaves of three, let it be’ and ‘use the pine cone with the direction of the scales unless you need a hemorrhoidectomy’.
In earlier America, corn cobs were a common choice. Apparently they were quite comfortable when fresh, but after they dried they became weapons of ass destruction. No wonder everyone heaved a sigh of relief when Sears and Eaton’s started printing their mail-order catalogues.
Today, toilet paper engineers are the unsung heroes of the western world. These amazing folks create a product that’s strong enough to withstand zealous scrubbing of regions better left undescribed, yet designed to fall to pieces seconds after contacting water so your toilet doesn’t plug. Soft enough to prevent abrasion, yet not so soft as to leave Klingons circling Uranus.
And it’s not just the engineers who should be lauded. Then there’s the next step: convincing consumers to buy. First the marketing geniuses have to come up with umpteen ways to say ‘our product wipes your ass best’ while avoiding any scatological reference whatsoever.
Then they create ads inexplicably featuring fluffy kittens and cartoon bears. Those commercials bring out the worst in me. Every time I see them, I think of the joke about the bear and the bunny taking a dump side by side in the forest. The bear turns to the bunny and says, “Do you have a problem with shit sticking to your fur?”. The bunny says, “No”, and the bear says, “Good!”, grabs the bunny and wipes his ass with it.
I can just see the tagline: “Soft as a bunny, strong as a bear”.
And now you know what it’s like to live inside my brain.
Sorry about that…
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I’m driving 800 miles again today so I won’t be able to respond to comments until tomorrow. “Talk” to you then! :-)