I was settling down to watch a sappy Lifetime movie when a commercial aired for a new and improved toilet paper, the brand of which must not be named. This particular BRAND THAT MUST NOT BE NAMED used to be my brand of choice, but not anymore. Apparently softness and thickness are no longer the most important features of toilet paper because the makers of THE BRAND THAT MUST NOT BE NAMED have discovered a way to make toilet paper even better than it was before. That’s right, bionic toilet paper. THE BRAND THAT MUST NOT BE NAMED is now so strong, it effectively protects users from the problems associated with toilet paper “break-through.” The idea of toilet paper break through is flat-out disgusting, I’ll give you that much. But honestly, is toilet paper “break-through” a common enough problem to warrant being addressed by specially engineered toilet paper? Is toilet paper break through causing wide-spread panic? As far as I can remember, I’ve never had a break through, at least not one serious enough to make me think, “Hmmm. I sure do wish somebody would develop a toilet paper that would quit breaking through when I wipe.” As a matter of fact, in all the years that I have been buying toilet paper, I never have considered protection against break through in choosing a brand. Softness? Yes, comfort is a big factor. Thickness? Of course, the thicker the paper the better the value. Protection against break through? Never. Me thinks the makers of THE BRAND THAT MUST NOT BE NAMED are grasping at straws, or more likely at the heels of their competitors.
I would quote the slogan for this new and improved BRAND THAT MUST NOT BE NAMED of toilet paper, but I can’t. I can’t quote it word for word because someone might guess the actual name of the BRAND THAT MUST NOT BE NAMED and that might hurt someone’s feelings. You know me — If you can’t say something nice, blah, blah, blah. I really intended that precept for people…not for toilet paper. Anyway, I’m not going to quote the slogan. I am going to tell you the ad campaign for this new and improved toilet paper from the makers of the BRAND THAT MUST NOT BE NAMED hinges on the idea that this paper is so effective that wiping with it not only gets you clean in all the important places, but it also helps to keep your hands free from contaminants. ARE YOU KIDDING? I imagine the ad men envisioned their campaign would incite consumers to rush out en masse to buy new and improved toilet paper from the makers of the BRNAD THAT MUST NOT BE NAMED. Did they really think we’d all be bouncing up and down, clapping our hands and exclaiming, “Wow! I’m psyched! I don’t have to wash my hands after using the toilet because my new toilet paper gets me clean and keeps my hands clean!” Frankly, it’s insulting. That act of wiping oneself is contaminating in and of itself. Therein lies the irony. The makers of the BRAND THAT MUST NOT BE NAMED have not stumbled upon some scientific break through. Do not get excited. They have not discovered the formula for some miracle toilet paper that is so strong and effective it eliminates the need to WASH YOUR HANDS AFTER YOU USE THE TOILET! Listen: you will always need to wash your hands after you use the toilet. Yes, even if you “didn’t touch anything,” you need to wash your hands, so don’t argue with me. (Sorry.) And speaking of arguments against washing your hands after you use the toilet, if anything, this marketing and ad campaign is going to backfire. Do you want to know why? BECAUSE GETTING KIDS TO WASH THEIR HANDS AFTER USING THE TOILET IS ALREADY A BATTLE. The last thing I’m going to do is buy toilet paper that claims to simultaneously get your bottom clean and keep your hands clean in the process. I might as well say, “Hey kids! Great news! I just bought this new and improved BRAND THAT MUST NOT BE NAMED of toilet paper, so now you don’t have to wash your hands after you go to the toilet! You win!” I might as well hoist up the white flag and surrender on all fronts,” Hey kids, since you’re not washing your hands, you might as well forget about flushing. Go ahead and pick your nose too, and while you’re at it chew with your mouth open if it makes you happy!” The BRAND THAT MUST NOT BE NAMED used to be my brand of choice, but not anymore. Give me some good old-fashioned please don’t squeeze the you-know-what. And don’t forget to flush and wash your hands.
Interesting facts on the history of toilet paper.
( The following facts are pasted from http://nobodys-perfect.com/vtpm/exhibithall/informational/tphistory.html)
- What did people use before toilet paper? Well, just use your imagination: grass, leaves, fur, mussell shells, corncobs, stinging nettles… okay, maybe not that last, at least not more than once. The ancient Greeks used stones and pieces of clay; ancient Romans used sponges on the ends of sticks, kept in jugs filled with salty water. Mideasterners commonly used the left hand, which is supposedly still considered unclean in the Arabian region.
- “Official” toilet paper – that is, paper which was produced specifically for the purpose – dates back at least to the late 14th Century, when Chinese emperors ordered it in 2-foot x 3-foot sheets.
- Corncobs and pages torn from newspapers and magazines were commonly used in the early American West. The Sears catalogue was well-known in this context, and even produced such humorous spinoffs as the “Rears and Sorebutt” catalogue. The Farmer’s Almanac had a hole in it so it could be hung on a hook and the pages torn off easily.
- Joseph C. Gayetty of New York started producing the first packaged toilet paper in the U.S. in 1857. It consisted of pre-moistened flat sheets medicated with aloe and was named “Gayetty’s Medicated Paper”. Gayetty’s name was printed on every sheet.
- Rolled and perforated toilet paper as we’re familiar with today was invented around 1880. Various sources attribute it to the Albany Perforated Wrapping (A.P.W.) Paper Company in 1877, and to the Scott Paper company in 1879 or 1890. On a side note, the Scott Company was too embarrassed to put their name on their product, as the concept of toilet paper was a sensitive subject at the time, so they customized it for their customers… hence the Waldorf Hotel became a big name in toilet paper.
- In 1935, Northern Tissue advertised “splinter-free” toilet paper. Yep, you read that right; early paper production techniques sometimes left splinters embedded in the paper. And you thought you had it tough!
- In 1942, St. Andrew’s Paper Mill in Great Britain introduced two-ply toilet paper
- America experienced its first toilet paper shortage in 1973.
- The Virtual Toilet Paper Museum opened its virtual doors in 1999.
Till tomorrow…Good night. Sleep tight.