Toilet Paper Problems

So, a group of friends and I were sitting around the table after dinner one night discussing toilet paper dispensers, because well, because those are the kind of people with whom I roll. . . . Pardon the pun.

Anyway, the strongly held and unanimous opinion was that those four-roll, lock-box dispensers are absolutely one of the most frustrating elements of modern society, for the simple reason that it is almost impossible to get at the toilet paper if the preceding person has not left a sheet to grab. You can’t get at the roll to spin it and you can’t see the roll to know where the edge is to try lifting it with a fingernail, not that you can stick your finger in there anyway. Such stalls should come equipped with a flashlight and a pair of needle-nose pliers because once you are on your hands and knees staring up into the dispenser you will discover that those are the tools you require.

My insightful and inventive friend, Katrina, has proposed a special toilet paper tool that would fit on your key chain. It would look like one of those tiny tape measures, but inside would be a spring-loaded grappling hook that upon pressing the button, would zip into the dark recesses of the dispenser and lodge itself in the roll.

Pending Katrina’s invention, what’s really needed is the kind of dispenser frequently used now for paper towels—the kind that possess a magic eye in front of which you wave your hand and then the machine whirs and spins and coughs out a towel. Sometimes, the magic eye actually eyes you up and down as it decides to drop a towel or not, and you end up doing a damp version of the hand jive in an attempt to appease this judgmental metal box. If you could just wave your hand and have the toilet paper drop down, life would be an easier proposition. Of course, the easily amused among us, sitting there with time on our hands, would entertain ourselves with such a dispenser and that could be problematic.

It might also be disconcerting to sit there eyeball to magic eyeball because you know, and I know that it would be thinking, “Look at this pathetic soul.” And we are pathetic, alternating between crying and cursing, devolving into a lower primate who is now attempting to master the use of tools by sticking the Honda fob into this stainless steel Fort Knox of a toilet paper dispenser. And God help you if you finally get a sheet to drop and in your excitement tear it off right at the edge again. Before you can grab onto that last wisp of white, it rolls ever so lazily back into the chasm from which it dropped, and now the entire process must be repeated.

Even worse is if you hear what sounds like four roulette wheels all spinning at once in the stall next to you, because, as it turns out, the janitor forgot to lock that dispenser and your neighbor is in there maniacally zipping rolls around and tearing off enough sheets to clean up after a horse, and a Clydesdale at that.

So, the point is this: Even Life’s most mundane tasks can be aggravating, but if you have good friends with which you can share the aggravation, then simple dinners can turn into wonderful moments of laughter and camaraderie. It’s either that or always carry a spare roll of toilet paper with you. That might be a better point.

About Austin Gisriel

You know the guy that records a baseball game from the West Coast in July and doesn't watch it until January just to see baseball in the winter? That's me. I'm a writer always in search of a good story, baseball or otherwise.
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4 Responses to Toilet Paper Problems

  1. Bonnie Lane says:

    This is just as hysterical now as the night that we all discussed it. We were laughing until our sides hurt … but then, of course, we are an easily amused bunch … thank the Lord!


  2. Don Hoover says:

    Thanks for sharing this amusing (but true story), but I need to ask this question: Did you and your guests pass on dessert after that lovely conversation?


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