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From the Back Porch
Bathroom Follies

By SR Adams

I think its a conspiracy. Mulder and Scully wouldn't even take this case--I imagine I'd get a referral to Robert Stack over at "Unsolved Mysteries." I'm not talking about the conspiracy where the guy always leaves the toilet seat up for you to fall through in the middle of the night. I had a couple of husbands and some military buddies who thought leaving toilet seats up was funny. My son got out of that habit at an early age. When he was three and could barely reach the rim of the toilet bowl while standing on his tippy toes, he got distracted once while holding the seat up and doing his business and the seat came crashing down. I couldn't help laughing at the guillotine image that sprang to my mind when my ex told me about it. I don't think the boy has lifted a toilet seat since, and I have no doubt that he will wind up in therapy over this childhood trauma. When my military buddies once decided to tie my seat into the upright position using the garden hose thingie you find on toilets in Asia (we never decided if this was used to clean the toilet or for bidet use) I told them about my son and threatened them with similar bodily harm if they ever did it again. They didn't call my bluff.

I'm talking about a different bathroom conspiracy, and this one started with the toilet paper. Now I don't know about you, but I feel that toilet paper is a necessity when using the facilities. I grew up in East Tennessee, and my grandmother had an outhouse that was still in use when I was a small girl. The nail on the wall did not have a Sears Roebuck catalog, it had a roll of toilet paper. This is the same grandmother that used to dip snuff and chew tobacco y'all, and redneck jokes aside, she had toilet paper. I spent fifteen years in the military and traveled to places that I can barely spell, not to mention pronounce or easily find on a map. They all had some kind of bathroom, sometimes no better than a hole in the ground, but by God, they all had toilet paper in them. Yes, I realize that Freud would have a field day with me and my toilet paper. He would probably say it is because my other grandmother had me toilet trained before I could talk, but I don't care. It doesn't explain "The Case of the Missing Toilet Paper." Not only does it go missing, but this phenomenon only occurs when I am the one caught high and not quite dry.

We have two toilets in this apartment; the main one and a half bath in the master bedroom. The toilet paper never goes missing from the bathroom in the master bedroom--only from the main bathroom. There is not so much as a scrap of toilet paper in sight whenever I desperately need there to be some. The toilet paper never runs out when my children use this bathroom, and they are truly amazed when I complain to them about the missing paper. They also never admit to being the one that the paper ran out on--it's as if there is an unending supply for them. "Toilet paper runs out?" they ask me in disbelief. On the weekends, when I am cussing up a blue streak as I yell for them to bring a roll, they wander around whining smugly "this never happens to meeeeeeeeeee."

I have even gone so far as to test my children by removing all toilet paper from the room when I go to bed at night. I give them a fighting chance by leaving the tail end of a roll with five little squares on it. It's a trick they taught us in military basic training--we would get demerits if we left an empty dispenser. But it wasn't a demerit if there was enough paper to cover the cardboard tube. My kids must have a bathroom fairy, because sure enough, when I get in there at ten in the morning, I am greeted with the cardboard tube, bare except for the scraps that are held on by glue. Now you can't tell me that these two children who are in junior high and high school (and no doubt laughing their smart little asses off at their mother) did not have to use the facilities in the previous eight or so hours. It's just not possible for them to not have noticed at a most inconvenient moment that there was no toilet paper. I refuse to ponder the possibility that they did in fact go to school sans toilet paper. But there is little more that I can do, as I sit and wait for the bathroom fairy to appear.

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SR Adams is recently retired from the military and has started a second career as a mom. She can also be found quite often in WOW, hosting or just hanging around.

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