Roll with it: TP and me

My husband has been helping out with the household grocery shopping more often lately, which I'm thankful for because I hate, no, I detest grocery shopping. I'm not so thankful, though, for Jim's exclamations and complaints each time he asks what I need him to pick up at the store and I tell him, among other things, toilet paper. Every time.

"How can we go through so much <cuss> toilet paper?" he groans.

toilet paper

After more than 33 years together, my husband still doesn't fully grasp my toilet paper obsession. Specifically, having enough on hand. Plus a little extra, just in case.

Yes, I'm a toilet paper hoarder. I admit it. And I attribute it to coming from a family of nine. With seven kids wiping noses and more, the family stash of toilet paper often came up short.

I recall many a time of my then-tiny tush sitting upon the throne and calling out for someone—anyone—to bring me some toilet paper from the other bathroom. Depending on where sibling alliances aligned at the moment, sometimes the call was answered right away by a sympathetic sister passing by the bathroom. Other times I could call and call and call... and finally hear a knock at the door as Mom gave in and eased the plight of the paperless.

In later years, the years after Mom and Dad divorced, toilet paper was in short supply for economic reasons: paper goods of any sort were considered a luxury for a single mom with seven mouths to feed. She bought generic, and even that she bought sparingly.

Fast forward to my years as a wife and mother, and toilet paper was always—always—at the top of my shopping list, whether we needed it or not. I was obsessed with ensuring my family never ran out of toilet paper, never even got down to fewer than seven rolls in the house.

I'm still that way. In an empty nest with only two residents regularly requiring toilet tissue.

My sisters are the same way, which is why I'm pretty confident we're products of the paper situation in which we were raised.

Despite my obsession with toilet paper, it never occurred to me until reading an article in the newspaper a while back that families depending on outreach ministries may have their dietary needs met by charitable souls, but that those charitable souls often forget toilet paper is an equally necessary fact of a hygienic life.

The article told of a local woman who related to the tissue issue and concerns of the disadvantaged because she once was there, as a single mom of two who found herself homeless—and paperless—in the past. Now that she was in a more stable financial position, she organized toilet paper donation drives to help fill a need many folks don't even realize exists.

Most folks take readily available toilet paper for granted. Often, the biggest concern is whether the roll should serve the user from over or under. (I prefer the "over" layout; my husband the "under." It makes for some interesting passive-aggressive retaliation after unsatisfactorily resolved arguments.) That's not the case with the less fortunate, though.

So next time you reach for the roll, consider those who are doing without... then consider passing on the paper love to a charitable organization near you. Children in need will thank you—and be rescued not only from unsanitary bathroom habits, but from a future of toilet paper-hoarding behavior as well.

Take it from a formerly paperless, current paper-hoarder herself: Every roll makes a difference.

Today's question:

How many rolls of toilet paper do you have in your house right now?