I am actually amazed at the amount of readers and listeners that wrote to me and called into the show asking, "What's the toilet paper story?" I mentioned in 'Becoming an Adult at 32' that for the first time in my life, just this year, I bought my first roll of toilet paper.
I know, I know. That does seem odd, right? Believe me, I'm well aware. But trust me when I say, if my mom had her way, toilet paper would be the trendy new housewarming gift. The top selling Christmas gift? Wedding showers? Sure, buy 'em toilet paper!
See, it all started when I moved to Wisconsin for my first job in radio. I literally got the job offer out of the blue on a Tuesday. I asked when they wanted me to start and they answered, "Monday." And I went.
I literally packed up a single suitcase and a few duffel bags full of shoes and make-up and made the road trip from Ohio to Wisconsin. I had nowhere to live - at least permanently - at that moment. So while I hunted for an apartment in the quaint little town of Sparta, I stayed at the Country Inn & Suites. They had plenty of toilet paper there.
It wasn't until my family made the huge trek with all my crap (and let's be clear in saying I had - and still have - a TON OF CRAP) a few months later, that the tradition began.
While we were hauling box after box of all the things a 22 year old gal can accumulate in that short span of hoarding, I noticed a large pack of toilet paper amongst my junk. "That's to get you started, I guess. Your mom had me put it in the truck," my dad said with a shrug and went right on lugging furniture.
A few months later, my family came to visit again. This time, it was Thanksgiving 2005. And again, I noticed another package of toilet paper was unpacked. We're not talking about a small little 4-roll pack, though. This package was pretty close to the size of a Sam's Club pallet of toilet paper. (See the above photo.) What could one little apartment need that much toilet paper for at one time?
Seriously! So I asked. "What's with all this toilet paper?"
To which my mom answered, without missing a beat, "Well, you know. We're all here. And we'll be using a lot."
Honestly, unless I literally invited the whole town over for dinner and salmonella was on the menu, there's no way we were even going to put a dent in that massive stash she brought.
But I set it aside. In cupboards. In closets. Under the bed. I literally had to keep breaking down the huge package and shoving rolls wherever I could. There was THAT MUCH TOILET PAPER.
And thus, the tradition was born. Each time my mom visits, she brings toilet paper. A TON of toilet paper. I don't know if there's some deep seeded issue she may have been faced with in her youth that makes her want to make certain that no bum is left behind. But it's so weird that it strangely just became the norm.
It's now a running joke on our show that when Mom and Dad are en route to visit, we make a call to them so my co-host can ask, "Hey Linda, did you remember the toilet paper?"
For 10 years now, she comes equipped. Some people may show up on your doorstep with a bottle of wine for your holiday gathering, but not my mom. It's good 'ol TP. I've never asked if she does this at dinner parties with her friends, but I really wouldn't be surprised.
But then, this spring, it happened. I reached under the sink and grabbed the last roll. WHAT?!?!??! HOW CAN I BE OUT OF TOILET PAPER?
Actually, the better question: HOW CAN I BE OUT OF TOILET PAPER when Mom doesn't have a trip to Wisconsin planned until July?!?!?!
After calming down (and making a quick phone call to Mom jokingly telling her that I needed an emergency visit) I decided to run to the store. She said she wasn't coming to visit before her next planned trip, so it was pretty much my only option. And really, how hard can buying toilet paper for yourself actually be? I am a grown adult, after all. Piece of cake.
Oh. My. God.
Wait. Why would one's butt need to be aloe'd? I don't know.
Quilted? I'm not covering up with it.
Who the heck is Scott? Why does he get his own brand?
There was no time for hashing all that out in my mind. I was overwhelmed. There are a sh**load (no pun intended) of options. That seems a bit much to me. Is there really a need for an entire wall of toilet paper? Can one brand of toilet paper really be that much better than the rest? And how do you start to figure up which is the best bang for your butt? Buck. Butt. Same thing.
I couldn't do it. Forget that level of decision-making. To the toilet paper purchaser in your household, kudos to you, my friend. I can't do it. It's just not right. There is no reason that there should be clouds, angels, babies, dogs, and forest creatures all staring back at you from their respective packages while you're trying to make this very crucial choice. It's intimidating.
So I did what any normal person would do. I left the store and took a roll home from work the next day. I needed time to think this thing over. In the privacy of my own bathroom. In peace.
You know that's where the best thinking occurs.
I also asked our wonderful STAR 98 listeners for their help. I tried asking my mother but she said she just bought whatever package was the biggest. Shocking!! And it seems like there really is no right answer. Everyone has a different favorite.
So as Christmas draws near and you're struggling for the perfect gift for your loved ones, just do like my family and pick up some toilet paper. If you're worried about what kind, just ask the cashier for a gift receipt. That's not weird or anything.
Because nothing says "I love you" like a big stash of T.P.
Copyright 2015 Laura McKenna. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without express written consent.