Daily Archives: February 14, 2007

Paper Ponderings


Today I was researching the history of toilet paper (you have to be prepared for any question when you’re a mom, you know) and there, among the many useful and essential snippets of latrine lore, I came across this interesting tidbit in the toilet paper timeline:

1792: the Old Farmer’s Almanac begins publication; there are several publications by the same name, as well as the Farmer’s Almanac, which began publication in 1960. Pages from these publications were often ripped out and used as toilet paper, and later editions have holes punched in them so they could be hung from a hook in outhouses. (Wikipedia)

I find this interesting. Apparently reading material in the bathroom is an older concept than I thought. Of course, the habit of using it as toilet paper probably created a little family tension. Just imagine: you rush out to the outhouse after a long day’s work in the fields, excited about finally reading that article on the latest plowing technology, only to find that your wife did her “business” earlier in the day and callously ripped out the first two pages to tend to her own needs. The dinner table is unusually silent that night, and over the weeks to come, as important weather predictions and planting charts disappear, unread, into the black abyss, resentment begins to grow. Eventually, the closeness you once shared is only a distant memory, and the two of you are unable to even vent your frustrations, since well-bred men and women didn’t speak to each other about such sensitive and personal issues.

Thankfully, someone finally came along and separated bathroom-related papers into two piles: one for reading and one for wiping, thus rescuing half of the world’s troubled marriages. Genius.

More food for thought:

Another matter of personal preference is how to prepare the toilet paper for usage. The predominating methods are either to “fold” a number of sheets together, or to “scrunch” sheets into a loose ball, with “wrapping” the paper round the hand being somewhat less popular. The intensely private nature of the subject, coupled with the fact that the methodology is instilled at a very young age, means that a majority of the people are unaware that the difference exists (or have even thought about it), and may react with shock upon learning that their partner uses an alternative method.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that scrunching is more common in America, and folding more common in the UK, and that this difference informs the construction of toilet paper sold in the two markets. (Wikipedia)
I am a folder. I’m not ashamed of it, although I was somewhat surprised to see that I am in the minority in this country. As for Paul, I honestly have no idea. Early in our marriage, we established ourselves as “private bathroom people”, and I am not privy (bah-dum-BAH!) to that information.

In the end, it doesn’t really matter how you use it, as long as you use it.

And as long as you install it so that the end hangs over the roller and not under. That is non-negotiable.