I have used leaves. I have used crumpled up fast food napkins from my purse. In a pinch, I have even used a very scratchy and uncomfortable piece of loose leaf notebook paper. These experiences have only buttressed (Heh. Get it?) my resolve to offer thanks for the subject of today’s gratitude post:
What would we do without you, toilet paper?
Well, we know that, actually. Before there was toilet paper, our ancestors used grass, leaves, fur, corncobs–you name it. The Vikings used lamb’s wool. Eskimos used snow and moss off the tundra. The French used hemp, various coastal people used seashells (carefully, I assume), and throughout Medieval Europe, straw and hay was the common choice. In ancient Rome, they used a sponge soaked in salt water and fastened to the end of a stick. And in the Middle East, well… there’s a reason it was considered rude to offer your left hand for a handshake.
Perhaps those days are past, but it wasn’t that long ago that country families would hang the Sears & Roebuck catalog in their outhouses to serve a purpose beyond providing reading material. You had to be a fast reader to get through all of it before it went to its final resting place. It may have been convenient, but soft it was not.
Now we have Mr. Whipple, whose curmudgeonly admonishment not to squeeze the Charmin serves to remind us how soft it is. And that’s not all. We have so many choices! Do you want it quilted, three-ply, extra-soft, extra-strong, and extra-absorbent? We have that! You can buy it mildly scented, sprinkled with embossed flowers, and in a delightful array of colors to match your bathroom decor!
I myself have experienced increasing satisfaction in the area of toilet paper performance, ever since leaving behind the insufficiencies of the thin, sandpaper-y institutional toilet tissue of my college dorm years. We are now Cottonelle people, and you’ll never convince us otherwise. The only way to go up from here would be to buy a bidet.
At any rate, I am enraptured to be living, loving, and eliminating in the enlightened age of toilet paper. The alternatives do not even bear* thinking about.
“European toilet paper is made from the same material that Americans use for roofing, which is why Europeans tend to remain standing throughout soccer matches.” –Dave Barry
“It’s not hard to tell we was poor – when you saw the toilet paper dryin’ on the clothesline.” –George Lindsey
“Today you can go to a gas station and find the cash register open and the toilets locked. They must think toilet paper is worth more than money.” –Joey Bishop