I am an ordinary person and we all have some connections so read on as we share one of my ordinary interests. This is not really a subject my mother would have approved of for general sharing or conversational fodder, however, it is of universal usage. Bear with me! I want to discuss toilet paper, also known as “TP.”

I became interested in toilet paper beyond simple use when my mother informed me that a study was done while she attended the University of Iowa in the late 1920s on the relative savings in placing the roll in the holder with the flap end coming over the top as adverse to streaming out below the roll. Evidently over the top was the most practical approach which encouraged the most moderate usage, hence, doing a good job of the “intended usage” at the most savings.

It was an instructional discussion, you see, and I was also told six sheets should do the trick.

Now that is a lot of info you never wanted to know but, hey, toilet paper is not cheap nowadays.

Years ago we had colored toilet paper to match the bathroom decor. Pink, blue, green and yellow and then a story went around about the dye being bad for one’s posterior and the color went away. Personally, I thought it was the decorators who began to recommend black, brown, purple and wine colored bathrooms and out-decorated the prissy pastels. At any rate, all is white.

My main problem is with the public bathrooms. I was sure for years that no manager of a business including public restrooms has ever been in their business’s bathroom. I have, in rare occasions, been inspired to tell a manager that his grade of TP was exceptional and sometime the opposite.

The first thing managers seem to miss is that very cheap, very light paper only prompts more use. No saving there! Also, paper that is not allowed to separate into individual sheets always shreds and also entails massive need for more paper. Well, you get the picture.

Waste, waste, waste in an era of environmental need for some good sense.

I certainly am not recommending recycled TP or restricted use. Specially not at my age but we need some good sense here. I am not a tree hugger, but the little bit of Scotch (heredity, not liquor) in me is appalled. While I am at it, a roll of TP two inches wide is ridiculous and will not help any size posterior. Quality counts, even in toilet paper.

Before I leave the subject of bathrooms, I believe that a person who finds a room in bad shape has an obligation to alert the management. Who are you to leave a bathroom without the relevant supplies for the next poor soul. And if it is your own potty place that needs TLC, step up your game, kid!

In closing I include my worst occurrences of potty woes. At a public toilet years ago in Greece, a lady sold toilet paper at the entry for a penny a sheet. Who had a Greek penny? Alas! Same trip, different country, the toilet paper would pass but the hole in the ground was discouraging. I could still squat at that age.

Lessons learned: always take your own paper and stay limber.

Mary Monson is a long-time resident of Owatonna who joins the contributors group for a second time as it revives a popular series from the 1980s. Different age, different group of writers, different ideas. You can reach her at marymonson35@gmail.com.

Jeffrey Jackson is the managing editor of the Owatonna People's Press. He can be reached at 507-444-2371 or via email at jjackson@owatonna.com

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