– Monday Muse –
Dear Ones, years ago I wrote the following as a humorous article for a senior magazine. After that, a different editor took over the magazine, and the essay was never printed. If you are in the mood, it is good for a chuckle. Oh, warning, the article is more than twice as long as the weekly essays.
A Legitimate Complaint
Disclaimer: The author’s husband disputes the accuracy of the last paragraph, but has agreed to settle out of court. He will seek compensation by writing his own article which will, if given the opportunity, begin with a disclaimer by the author’s wife.
In the early morning, the very early morning, before dexterity meets with mobility, I sit staring at it; hoping my still blurred vision is transferring a mistaken image. But as my focus penetrates sleepy haze the irritating sight cannot be denied even in semidarkness. Hanging with just a ragged, wimpy strip of paper dangling from one edge is an empty roll of toilet paper.
Because you’ve been in that situation many times yourself you may be thinking, big deal. But maybe you are the culprit; the one who leaves empty rolls only to later come face to bare cardboard with the results of your neglect. But I’m not to blame. I replace empty rolls. I have compassion for the next occupant. What do some people think the next person is going to do; pull a roll of toilet paper out of a pocket? I’m tired of it. Everywhere I go, I seem to be facing empty toilet paper dispensers. Sometimes life can be too mean.
I consider myself to be a person who can go the extra mile with a smile. But when it comes to sitting THERE reaching out to an empty roll; I’m not smiling. And in my situation I’m not smiling a lot. Time for a short explanation. This complaint of mine is relatively new. You see the necessity of frequently visiting rest rooms is a plague which falls on countless women when they become members of a certain age group.
“Of what age you ask?”
“That age,” and although I have never applied for admittance, I find myself a member.
I know you have the answer. It’s simple. Set an extra roll on the back of the stool. But the cute little decorative camouflages for extra toilet paper are not to my liking unless they are so well camouflaged they can’t be recognized as camouflaged rolls. I suppose by now you’re thinking…petty, but I’m not, I’m not. The following two paragraphs will surely evoke some measure of understanding and sympathy on my behalf:
It happened that all the rolls of toilet paper in our home were empty at the same time. I considered it a good opportunity; a trap unintentionally set. For someone would have to get out a new roll. I waited, but of course I couldn’t wait too long.
So my next strategy was to keep returning the roll I used to the cabinet, and continue to wait for someone, anyone to hang up a full roll. I thought I had a sure thing. What is it with these people around here? Am I the only one that hears nature’s call? And if so, who’s using up the paper?
One day, my husband and I, our adult children and their families, along with my brother and sister’s families visited my parents. There must have been twenty to twenty-four people in and around the house. Now how is it possible that in the course of one day I was alone three times with three empty rolls of toilet paper! You see, I’m not a petty person. I’m a person with a legitimate complaint.
The next time we were visiting my parents I mentioned the three-empty-rolls-in-one-day to my mother as I walked into her bathroom, and there it was – another empty toilet paper roll. I couldn’t stand it… so I sat down.
It’s getting so if I’m in McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Meijer, etc., and I reach out to the huge dispensers now used in public rest rooms and they are empty, I want to threaten to never return. Now you may wonder why I don’t check the stalls before entering. ‘Of that age’ women do not have the time for split second inspections. You may be saying start sooner or run faster. I do.
But as the saying loosely goes, “Every dark cloud is stuffed with toilet paper.” There is one good thing about this irritating situation. I now have enough information on the area’s public rest rooms that I can write a complete guide for women ‘of that age.’ The guide will give locations, quickest routes within the building, and rate the rest rooms as to their cleanliness, and most importantly, of course, the availability of toilet paper.
Once I was led by a female clerk to a restroom through the back of a poorly lit storage area around a maze of shelves, boxes, equipment, old rags, traps, baited traps…big baited traps. I believed at that moment that this particular restroom would never be included in my guide. After the clerk pointed out the restroom door, it became obvious that she considerately planned to wait and escort me back to the sales floor. Gazing at another trap, I was grateful. But I still had no intention of including the store in my guidebook. That was until I turned on the light and closed the door. I was face to face with large cases of toilet paper stacked three boxes high! And when, with my usual timing, I discovered that the dispenser was empty, I was pleased to find that an open case was within easy reach. And although at home open storage of extra rolls is undesirable, visible availability for public facilities is very acceptable. According to whom you ask? According to the yet unwritten Of That Age Guide.
Life as empty nesters has not alleviated my complaint. When the dispenser is empty, I wait to see if the situation will trigger a reaction in my husband. The greatest reaction so far is the movement of a new roll from under the cabinet to the counter. I eventually give up and hang it in place. Such is my fate. It could be worse, I guess, if I were petty.
“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one
another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 32
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