The Toilet Paper That Binds 

We’ve all been there. The house was empty. The dogs were napping. The record player was filling the air with music. Pretty much the perfect morning. Then, just as I finished my business in the downstairs bathroom, I noticed there was just one square of toilet paper left on the roll. Who leaves just one square!? 

My mind started racing…. when will someone be home? Are my legs falling asleep? My stomach is so empty, I’m going to starve to death! Why didn’t I train the dogs to fetch toilet paper?! 
‘Get control of yourself,’ I thought taking a breath, ‘what about the vanity?’ 
Good idea, the vanity. I know I stuck a couple of back up rolls in there less than a week ago. Nothing. They’re both gone. The nearest roll is all the way upstairs. To get there I’d have to shuffle past at least two windows. The problem is both of the windows face the college girls next door and the drapes were open. If they witnessed my bowlegged dance up the stairs, things would get real awkward, real quick. 
Suddenly it became a survival situation, like you might see on one of those shows on the Discovery Channel, Almost Naked and Afraid. I had to come up with some alternative means of clean up. If I flushed, maybe I could splash some water up there and create a manual bidet? What if I wadded up a couple of pages out of the magazine, it might work in a pinch? I’ve read that before TP people actually bought books just for that purpose. Looking up I saw the hand towel. It would be nice and soft but I am pretty sure my wife would kill me. 
Then I remembered the Kleenex in the living room. Only about 20 yards of waddling and no possible window exposure. I leaned out and checked both sides of the hallway, even though no one was home, then maneuvered as quickly as someone in that condition can. Moments later I was safely back on my throne. Salvation.   
That morning came to mind when I read that 70-75% of the world’s population doesn’t use toilet paper. That’s somewhere in the neighborhood of five billion people that don’t use or have access to my treasured little white fluffy assistants. But humans are a resourceful lot and have devised many different ways to clean up the business end of our digestive tracts. Bidets are a popular choice when plumbing and availability of water allow. Sometimes cloths are used since they can be washed. Kind of like diapers from when I was a kid, if you you have been around long enough to remember that. Wikipedia even noted that the use of sticks, stones, leaves and corncobs is commonplace in less developed regions of the world. And possibly the biggest group of paper-less people use a much more manual method paired with water. Needless to say in those regions they generally eat with their right hands.   
Regardless the method it’s clear that it doesn’t matter if you grew up in a hut in Africa or a chalet in Swiss Alps, everyone has to deal with cleaning up the exit end of their waste evacuation system. 
That common thread makes it hard for me to understand why America seems to be so divided right now. Look at the person sitting next to you or better yet picture the guy you passed in the store earlier today. They wipe their butt just like you do. (I’ll admit there are some variations but that is a different discussion.) They want the same things out of life as you. Safety for their family, freedom from persecution, a little food in their belly and a nice double ply hanging there when they need it. But it’s hard to focus on those commonalities when the people that get the air time are always pointing out how different we are and are warning that this other group of people is out to get your toilet paper.   
This nationwide squabble is now news for the rest of the globe and they are happy to proclaim that our young democracy is finally crumbling but we know it’s not. Sometimes we just get distracted by what divides us instead of what makes us the same. We all laugh, we all cry and we all poop. In a world where only 60% of the people have access to a flushing toilet I’ll happily stay right here in the good ol’ US of A because I have three of them… I just need to do a better job of making sure there is toilet paper available at each.


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