Friday, October 09, 2009


People who have been reading this stupid-ass site for years know that Yours Truly fancies himself a bit of an expert in the matter of Abstergent Paper. You know: Tee Pee. Bunwad.

It’s a product with which we all are all too familiar.

I’ll admit right up front that both She Who Must Be Obeyed and I are creatures of habit when it comes to Matters Toiletpaperical. We tend to rely on the same brand day after day, year after year, only rarely straying from the path of the Tried and True.

Let’s face it: once you have found a product that you like, there’s not much upside for making a switch... and there’s plenty of downside. Every product represents a tradeoff between the opposing qualities of comfort and strength. And let us not forget effectiveness. Wax paper, for example, may be both comfortable and strong, but it will not be effective.

Too soft? You may be comfortable, but you may be growing a crop of dingleberries with every swipe, while at the same time being vulnerable to the Dreaded Poke-Through. On the other hand, too strong and harsh, and your Delicate Rosebud may pay a heavy price.

Our favorite brand seems to strike the perfect balance between these competing characteristics. So, you might well ask, why change?

Well, we’ve observed that what at first was seemingly a one-off phenomenon - the narrowing roll - has become an industry trend. Last trip we made to the Bunwad Shoppe, we saw that only one brand - the contemptible single-ply Scott’s - still retains its old 4½-inch width. All the others have shrunk to four inches. If this trend continues, in a few years we’ll be wiping ourselves with reels of Rectal Floss. Yeef.

Our mild resentment at this development led us to throw caution to the wind and try a test run of a different brand. We settled on Charmin Ultra Strong. My issue with Charmin in the past - aside from their former mascot, the execrable Mr. Whipple - is that it is well on the soft-and-comfy side of the spectrum. Sounds good, but unless you’re trying to start a ’berry farm, it’s not the way to go. “Ultra Strong” seemed to promise a different experience.

And it is, indeed, different.

Let me tell you, this stuff is tough. The Dreaded Poke-Through is not ever gonna be an issue with this tissue... unless you learned your wiping technique from wildcat oil drillers. Or in the rare event that a poke-through is desirable.

But what about comfort? you ask.

Surprisingly, it’s plenty comfortable. Not nearly like that 10-grit garnet paper they used to give us in grade school. It’s not Fluffy McFluffypants, but it’s workable, if you don’t mind the disconcerting sensation that you’re wiping yourself with a (soft) paper towel.

And better yet: No ’Berry Patch.

I’m not prepared, at this point, to commit to a wholesale conversion. Nevertheless, we’ve identified a product that, at the very least, may be used in the event of an emergency or in case of difficulty obtaining our Usual. (After a nuclear war, however, all bets are off and anything becomes fair game. Newsprint, broken bottles, oyster shells...)

The only extant question, I suppose, is whether you hang the roll so that the paper is dispensed from the top or from the bottom of the roll. I know the right answer, of course, as does SWMBO. But I will not be so uncivil as to mention it here, for entire empires have foundered as a result of disputes on matters of far less importance.

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