The Great Toilet Paper Crisis of 1984

Many of us are worrying about the toilet paper situation. We cannot believe that hoarders are at it again! Why toilet paper of all things we ask ourselves. I know why. I learned the hard way that some things just should not be flushed! Let me tell you a story…

Picture me a young, cute 20 year old living in my first apartment. Calling it an apartment might be a bit of a stretch. I was living in a room with a sink, a fridge and a thin wall of imitation paneling separating the “facilities” from my bed which also served as my living room sofa, study lounge and dining room. I had a clunky 20 inch tv at the end of my bed so you could say it was also my media room if they had been invented yet! Think Mary Tyler Moore’s apartment at the top of the old, Victorian mansion, only not as cool and trendy. More like Rhoda’s apartment, only without the bohemian charm. Okay, really it was more like the hole you imagined Lenny and Squiggy crawled out of to pester Laverne and Shirley every Tuesday night. I was a broke college student living off campus in a rundown two story walk up and eating ramen noodles every meal. Fortunately, I had a roommate to split expenses or it would have been ramen every other meal. Sara and I shared a lot of adventures and misadventures in that old house. Like the time we discovered the thin layer of ice that had formed on the window INSIDE our apartment! But no memory is as clear in my mind as the week we ran out of toilet paper!

It was spring. We had almost made it through the semester and were looking forward to bidding farewell to our dump of an apartment. Summer at home had never seemed so appealing! If I had known how to, I would have been whistling a happy tune, completely oblivious to the impending bathroom crisis. I never saw it coming as I carelessly unrolled that last long ribbon of paper from its cardboard tubing. Even when I reached for a new roll, only to run my fingers through a thin film of dust on the bottom of the otherwise empty cabinet, the seriousness of the situation eluded me. It was only when Sara and I had used every last Kleenex (including the crumpled ones in the bottom of my purse) that our predicament became undeniable. We couldn’t squeeze the Charmin even if we wanted to, payday was still a week away! What were we going to do?

Remember how I said some things should never be flushed? Well, let me be clear, PAPER Towels should never be flushed! At least not for more than a day or two! They are called towels for a reason. Those suckers are thick! We had almost made it through the whole 7 days when our paper towel dam burst! I will never forget the sight and sound of gallons of water pouring out of the stairway chandelier (apparently, our toilet was located directly above the antique fixture, who knew?) like some crazy Dr. Seuss illustration as I ran sloshing down the stairs to find our landlord whose office was down the block. Hysterical and hoping she wouldn’t ask too many questions, I waited to see what she would have to say about the new water feature in the foyer. I was so relieved when she burst out laughing! Her first words were “let me guess you were using paper towels for toilet paper!” I never dared ask her how she knew. But, as a wise comedian said once, you can tell just how screwed up someone is by the kind of toilet paper they use!

So now that I have shared my cautionary tale, my wish for us all in 2021 is that we may ever be flush with toilet paper and that our health and prosperity overflow like that clogged toilet in 1984!

Published by alisonbaird765

I like to write. I like to tell stories. Let Me Tell You A Story was born out of a desire to share personal memories that make me smile, chuckle, or sometimes cackle out loud like a deranged old crow. I hope you enjoy them, too.

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