June 01, 2004
The History of Toilet Paper.
Let us pause to give thanks for the noble invention we take for granted, and recount the dark days in America's history known as
"The Great Toilet Paper Shortage"
13 years ago
In 1935, Northern Tissue advertised "splinter-free" toilet paper
Oh, man. And I don't even want to think about the corncobs.
The corncobs may have taken care of the itch from intestinal worms which so many people had then. Plus, I'm sure it was "bracing."
I've used corncobs while planting in the fields at my Grandpa's farm and it was no big deal-- the trick is soaking them in water first, in a little pail kept in the cab of the tractor specifically for this purpose. After, just discard into the soil, and voila!: instant fertilizer! This was a piece of cake compared to the "Turkish Toilets" I've used when traveling Europe-- those suckers are unforgiving-- and that is why I still carry a little bottle of hand disinfectant whenever I travel. Also helps to trim your nails REALLLY short. Am I actually typing this for people to see?
I survived the Great Toilet Paper shortage. Barely. But I don't have a T-shirt or anything to prove it. Darn good thing that stuff keeps without spoiling. My stock should be gone by 2007. And I hate that colored and scented stuff. I can do THAT myself, thankew.
Most places we went in Turkey had a small pipe and a bucket or pitcher for sanitary use. Somehow, the idea of using that water never thrilled me. Probably was just fine--clean spring water, but I kept counting waterborne diseases on my other hand. I REALLY appreciated American style toilets when I got back to the US. Dizzy, that waterless hand cleaner/disinfectant
a truely marvelous invention, init?
I agree, Blue-- but it is most likely only a weak palliative when you consider that the moment you touch anything--your wallet, car keys, money, shoes-- and then touch your face or mouth, it is the same as licking the soles of your feet after usinfg the bathroom barefoot... How's THAT for a Happy Image? Ish.
Dear Lord, I am thankful for: Toilet Paper, Soap, Chocolate, Alchohol, Sex, Potable Water, Dahlias, Garlic, Basil, Indoor Heating, etc.....
not in any particular order..
Allright, carry on.
Places to visit:
the same as licking the soles of your feet after usinfg the bathroom barefoot...
Dizzy: Is this statement made from a background of personal experience? Hey, you can't scare me with yer germ theory. I have two dogs that love rolling in cow crap and chewing horse hoof trimmings before attempting tongue-to-face contact, the world's grungiest cat, four horses (and I wear flips to shovel the pens) and I live with three grandkids under seven. One is still in diapers, one needs major assistance wiping, and one who thinks her name is "I TOLD you to wash your hands." Around here, Shit Happens.
BlueH; (I lost a bet once. I had the option of licking the winner's feet or drinking a cup of gin mixed with a pint of milk. The winner, a Carbonaro-type in full uniform, was toting a machine gun. I was on a train crossing the Pyrenees and was 19 and the only American and so I drank every drop. Then I was violently sick, of course, which is what the little prick wanted. I will not take an Italian train anytime soon.)
I blame all Italian trains for this atrocity. (Careful with that betting now! Have you never been told not to gamble with the locals?)
Toilets of the World
seems like it needs to be linked here somewhere.
I've been biting my tongue. I worked at a high school in Siberia for a year and a half, and it got to minus forty in January, and the ground is well frozen until mid-May (I know, having dug a toilet in early May, too early, that was rough), and plumbing, you don't have it, except in the cities and in a couple apartment blocks in the smaller towns (and then, like as not, your flush is, um, manual). So, picture this. Your high school toilet is a rickety wood thing atop a seven foot deep trench, and it's got three holes in it on the man's side, and three on the woman's. Cool. You squats, you shits your shit, you wipes (I've lost quite a few poems I've written that way, I always forget extra paper and I have to cannibalize whatever notebook I have on me), you moves on your way. Except it's cold. Well, what's that to me? Your ass is in the wind, for one thing, but that's not too bad, I just tucked my coat around me usually, and since I was on an all meat-soup diet, everything usually squirted out real quick-like. No, the real trouble is there's lots of people taking shits just like you are, and they're all squatting over the same 1' x 1' square of ground, and while warm shit slides and makes piles, frozen shit sticks where it lands, so eventually, around November or December, you're starting to get a column of the stuff, and around January you're getting worried, and February, you just Don't Look Down when you drop 'em, and March, you don't do a full squat. Plus - people are pissing in the same hole, and piss freezes just as fast as shit does, so you've got this orangey-whitey striped yellow glaze over your six foot totem pole of shit, with little hanging fangs off it, like somebody melted a candle over a stack of Chips Ahoy. And recall this is a high school bathroom, and if you're like me you use the boys' side, and that means your whole toilet you're squatting in is one to three inches deep in frozen piss, and you just know that if you're not extra careful, you'll slip, and with your luck, you'll wind up your ass sunk in the hole and your arms and legs out and flailing in the air, someone else's sharp turd passing through the small of your back and popping out your belly button, and then your body heat will melt it, and you'll die an awful Vietnam-style death, only with no veteran's benefits for your shamed family. Turkish toilets I quite liked, personally.
Game, Set, Match: PF.
*shivers, won't sleep tonight without drugs*
Oh, and though the school toilets didn't have this, at home we had a rusty metal bucket for the toilet paper, and when you had to shit at night if there was no moon you threw a match in and it was light enough for you to find your hole and then later check your wipage, but you had to go fast! We also had a long iron rod that came to a tip that we used to break down the shit tower when it got too high (and break up the damned frozen ground when it was toilet digging time, as it happened to be May 2003. Ten years they spent filling that shithole, and I get stuck with making the new one after eight months).
Country rail stations in Italy have no toilets. Just to tie things together and, er, so you know. This from the voice of experience: when pregnant and wanting never to be far from amenities, do not travel alone by train in a country where you only know how to say, "I can eat glass; it doesn't hurt me," in the local language.
PF is such a whiner-- it's not like they had FLIES.
I remember once I took a dump at a datsan, it was September, and I looked down after squeezing one off, and below me the place was alive with wriggling white maggots. Another memory comes back to me - a toilet in Yakutia. I was above the arctic circle, and the land was all permafrost, which melts a little bit in the summer, and freezes a little bit in the winter. You can imagine what happens to a building that's built half above a big chunk of underground ice and half not - the half that is on the ice slides down year by year, and the other half stays up, and it eventually splits. As did this one toilet, half was level, which was where you shat, the other half was tilted crazy down, and the roof above the dividing line was split, and somehow all kinds of trash and frozen shit and piss collected in the tilted-over corner. By the way,
, can you tell me, why in the world it is my dogs like to eat the meadow muffins? Turns my stomach whenever they come in smacking their lips from the horse pen.