An Ode to Toilet Paper

A precious commodity rests upon the commode.

Welcome to Spring 2020 where the media is unable to discuss anything besides our impending doom, and all the stores are out of toilet paper.   

Meanwhile back at the ranch… Life in our little corner of East Texas hasn’t changed too much. When you spend most of your days on the farm anyway, I suppose “social distancing” doesn’t really mean a whole lot. The cows don’t seem worried about getting too close.

I have mentioned in other posts about small ways we try to be self-reliant. Today, just for fun, I thought I’d talk about paper goods, and, yes, the recently elusive toilet paper. 

It’s sort of ironic that I just mentioned in a February post, before all this coronavirus madness took hold, how I wanted a bidet. It had nothing to do with the scarcity of TP at that point but was about how ridiculously expensive it is. It’s almost as if you’re flushing your money down the toilet. Oh, wait, you kind of are. 

Why the hoarding of toilet paper anyway? You know you can’t eat toilet paper, right? Believe it or not, we can survive very well without it. In this country, packaged toilet paper wasn’t even invented and sold until the 1850s. Many countries still don’t use it, preferring other ways to clean the southern regions. I used to live in one of them — Thailand. 

I lived in Thailand for two years. I’m not saying I went without toilet paper for two years or that you can’t find it in many locations. I’m saying that the average Thai doesn’t use it, preferring to wash with water. Go into a Thai public restroom, not in a touristy area, and you will find a bucket or trough of water with a scoop in it. (You figure out the logistics.) Of course, the water method is easier in Thailand, because, there, squatting toilets are still in vogue.

Anyhow, my point is that there are other perfectly reasonable ways to use the facilities even if you run out of toilet paper. Now, how about other paper goods? 

Cloth diapers and liners dry on a rack. (We lost power that day, which happens often in our area. Don’t ask me why.)

My family switched from using paper napkins to cloth about four months ago. No regrets there. They are easy to wash when they get dirty, and they look more elegant on the table for dinner parties anyway. 

Paper towels? Yes, I like them and use them. However, usually a rag or wash cloth will work just fine. The only situation where I really do feel I need a paper towel instead of a rag is when I use a paper towel on a plate to soak up cooking oil for bacon or other cooked meat. But, since I use olive or coconut oil, it’s not the end of the world if it just stays greasy.

Two other paper products that we also have cloth alternatives for are diapers and sanitary pads. I don’t always use the cloth versions, but they work just fine when I do. And, I know I won’t run out of either product. 

There seem to be plenty of people out there that are not okay with using an alternative to paper products, especially the precious toilet paper. For those people, I wrote the following poem:

An Ode to Toilet Paper
Oh, Tee Pee!
A future without you, I just cannot see!
How soft you feel when I wipe;
Without you, surely everyone will only gripe.
You are worth every last cent,
Even if we can’t pay the rent.
No matter if in a restaurant we can no longer dine,
I have my toilet paper, so I feel fine.
Come viruses or what may,
I still have my mega rolls every day!

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