I came to the realization today that there are four types of toilet-paper people in the world.
And no, I don't mean 1-ply, 2-ply, quilted, and "industrial sandpaper." Arguably that would require the inclusion into the discussion of—and expansion of the sample group to—a fifth type of person, the "I will take whatever is available at the moment of crisis" type.
No, as I sat and thought, pondering the issue, I decided that are clearly four distinct types; namely:
- The "over and down" type.
- The "behind and down" type.
- The "any which way but loose" type.
- The "I refuse to touch the old, empty roll and will just leave the new roll on whatever (preferably horizontal) surface is available" type.
For those who are confused, allow me to elaborate:
First, the "over and down" type. This is the camp that my parents fall into. I was always taught that the paper should come over the top and hang down. I have never been sure why; perhaps it allows for optimum roll-speed and tearability? To this day, I remain unsure. I have to admit, there is something aesthetically pleasing about this roll-hanging method.
Second, the "behind and down" type. This could also be called the "under" type. There's something secretive and hidden about this method. My parents would always insist upon changing the direction of the roll if they found the "under" method used. I will note that I tend to find this method most commonly used by janitorial staffs of large public restrooms. These are the restrooms with the industrial multi-roll dispensers. I am sure you know the type: the ones where you have to use both hands to turn the roll, and where perforation separation occurs at the slightest gust of wind.
The third type, by now, is likely obvious. It is the person that does not seem to notice or care which direction the paper flow takes. Over or under—it does not matter so long as there is a square to utilize.
(Aside: Apparently I am not the first to pontificate about the direction of toilet paper flow. This outfit supposedly performed a scientific (although seemingly tongue-in-cheek) study to prove which direction is more ecologically friendly.
I am not kidding.
At the very least, some individual spent far too much time and energy pondering toilet paper rolls and the proper interwall configuration thereof. Oh...wait... Ahem. End aside. )
Then there's the fourth type. More likely than not, this image is what you see when you enter the facility after the fourth type has been there. This invariably leads to a frantic mid- or post-process search for the new roll. Usually it can be found on the back of the toilet tank or on the edge of the sink/countertop. Some enterprising individuals have been known to even balance the new roll (both vertically and—impressively—horizontally) atop the old, empty tube. On occasion there is nothing to be found, no replacement at all.
Note: these are the times when you should be aware enough to use some protective object on your hand when traversing the space between the toilet and the exit, including opening the door or stall to leave. Trust me.
So...after all is said and done, what does this mean? Yes, there are four distinct types of people in this world. Every person (at least in the Western world) can be easily placed into one of these groups.
(Aside: Please do not come to me with other examples, such as the people in Taiwan who use flat sheets of paper that come packaged in what can only be described to a Westerner as a package of paper dinner napkins, or those who use leaves, magazine pages, or other materials. Not only do these not apply because of the lack of the presence of a toilet paper roll, it defeats my thesis and thus I shall not consider these examples at this time. After all, it is my potty and I will apply if I want to. End aside.)
Again, what does this system of toilet paper replacement (or lack thereof) tell us about people? Is it education? Social? Economic background? Marital status? Laziness? Anal retentiveness?
Honestly, I do not know. That is a discussion for the sociologists and psychologists to make and for pundits to debate. It was just an observation I made while I was, shall we say, "pondering life."
Thank you for listening. I would love to hear your thoughts on the matter.