One of my most favorite bloggers (probably because she’s random like me) just wrote about her dad’s 2 1/2 year supply of toilet paper and I seriously laughed my head off. Not just because her post was so funny (it was – good job Anna) but because it brought back such great childhood memories of my dad’s great care in eliminating waste (okay, in a different way from what you’re thinking). My kids have to know that I come by my anal-retentive-light-turner-offer compulsiveness naturally. So, with apologies to my dad, (you knew this blog was coming some day, didn’t you Dad?), the following are some of my best growing up stories ever:
When I was about eight years old, my dad introduced our family to the “three squares of toilet paper” policy. Dad informed us kids that his butt was bigger than any of ours, and if he could successfully get the J.O.B. done with three squares, by dang, we could get the J.O.B. done with three squares. This policy was introduced at the dinner table with a demonstration. Three squares, folded neatly over themselves to produce one square with triple strength, was sufficient for any bathroom necessity.
I found I just could not do it. And I tried. Sincerely. I remember one day approaching my mom very nearly in tears, and explaining to her that I simply could not make this assignment happen. I remember she put her arm around my shoulders and said, “Oh sweetie. Just use whatever you need. Forget what your dad said.”
I think this was the first time in my young life that it ever even dawned on me that parents didn’t always agree on everything.
In my dad’s defense, he will tell you that I used to spin the roll so thoroughly that he could hear me clear down the hall. It was this wastefulness that prompted the three square policy.
This isn’t the best toilet paper story of my youth.
When I was a teenager, for some ridiculous reason we thought it was cool to toilet paper each other’s houses. This was torture for my dad, who thought it was the most unreasonable waste. We ended up having to buy our own toilet paper for this adventure, and I, being my father’s daughter, was equally frugal. So we used to take a roll of toilet paper and cut it with a butcher knife across its middle to form two rolls out of one, albeit really skinny strips of toilet paper rolls.
FYI, these didn’t work very well. Throwing the rolls over trees always ended in a glitch in the unraveling motion. This was a huge pain.
This still isn’t the best toilet paper story of my youth.
When I was dating my husband-to-be, he came out of our bathroom once and asked, “What in the world is that garbage bag of toilet paper doing in your bathroom?” Honestly, this bag in the bathroom seemed quite normal to me, but my husband to this day can’t get over what that bag was all about.
Our house had been toilet papered. This was fairly common. As the family cleaned up the mess, my dad had us gather all the toilet paper in plastic garbage bags. We pulled strands off the trees, trying carefully to keep them from breaking on the perforations. We pulled twigs and leaves off the paper, hand rolled the long strands, and placed them in the bags. And there each sat next to our toilets, ready to be utilized the way Charmin intended.
The interesting thing is, we weren’t poor by any stretch. There was just no room for waste in our family.
What’s most interesting to me now is that my parents have the most amazing toilet paper in their bathrooms. It is so thick and luxurious that it feels like a towel to me. I always feel so guilty using it. It just seems way to nice for my unworthy bottom.
Late addition: Related but not the same…I once typed a letter to a missionary on a roll of toilet paper. (Children, a “typewriter” is a square-ish machine that has buttons on it similar to your keyboard. When mommy pushed these buttons, a metal arm with the appropriate pushed letter would fly up from inside the machine and strike the page, but not before a ribbon with ink on it slid up between the metal striker and the paper to create letters and words on paper.)