Wednesday, November 10, 2004


No, not detergents. Abstergents.

Both get things clean, but that’s where the similarity ends.

“Abstergent” is one of those fifty-cent words that means “bunwad.” You know. Tee Pee. Asswipe. Toilet paper.

We all deal with this stuff every day, except maybe for the famously constipated Dooce. But what got me thinking about it was the huge 18-wheeler I saw on the freeway today as I was headed for the Atlanta airport, on my way to a four-day sojourn in Sweat City. The truck trailer had several giant-sized images of a cartoon bear nestled in clouds. A happy, smiling bear. Happy, no doubt, because he had a clean, non-irritated bear ass.

It was the Bunwad Truck.

I don’t know where, exactly, this connection between bears and asswipe got started, but these cartoon bears shill for one of the big T.P. purveyors. Maybe it’s because we all know what bears do in the woods.

[B’ar stool - what Dan’l Boone always tried to avoid stepping in.]

Personally, I think it’s because of that old joke about the bear and the rabbit who strike up a conversation as they are squatting side-by-side in the woods, going about their business.

Bear: Mr. Rabbit, may I ask you a personal question?

Rabbit: Why, certainly, Mr. Bear.

Bear: How is it that your fur is always so nice and clean and white?

Rabbit: Why, that’s simple, Mr. Bear. It’s because shit doesn’t stick to my fur.

So the bear wiped his ass with the rabbit.

[For some unknown reason, this joke seems to get more laughs when I tell it in an Indian accent. I have no idea why - it just does.]

Anyway, bears and shit just seem to go together. So strong is that association, I’m convinced the luckiest break Tiger Woods ever got was that his dad didn’t nickname him “Bear Woods.” What word immediately comes to your mind when you say the words “bear” and “woods” in close succession?

But the brand of bunwad this particular bear was promoting is not for me. Too damn soft.

“What’s wrong with soft T.P.?” you may well ask. Simple. You want paper that holds up under use, paper that doesn’t disintegrate into little evil-looking spitballs. Paper that resists the occasional inadvertent finger-poke. On the other hand, you want it to be reasonably gentle on the Delicate Rosebud. That’s a fine argument right there against using 75-grit garnet paper. Or the kind of paper favored by summer camps, gas stations, and French hotels.

The best invention to come along since sliced bread, by the way, is that moist T.P. that Kimberly-Clark sells: Cottonelle Fresh Rollwipes. It’s not a big seller, but I’m convinced that that’s because people just haven’t discovered this fine product yet. I don’t need to get graphic with you, but that stuff is a godsend. The trick to using it is to alternate between the regular old dry stuff and a square or two of the moist. Otherwise, you may find yourself taking out a second mortgage just to pay your Bunwad Bill.

Now, for the real weighty issue: should the roll hang so that the free end of the paper is over the roll? Or under? Marriages have foundered on this deep issue. What’s your preference?

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