Hey Kid, Slow Your (Toilet Paper) Roll

by Tara Wood
teens wasteful gratitude
gmcoop / iStock

gmcoop / iStock

Photographer: Greg M. Cooper (

Look, I know we’ve never had a conversation about this—not like those times when we sat at the foot of my bed, our knees touching, your hands in mine, you looking everywhere but at me while I reiterated why it’s a really, terribly awful idea to send anyone pictures of your boobies, or anything below your neck, really. Remember that? I was all, “Just send pictures of your boring-ass lunch or your new weird H&M sweater to be safe.” And then I relented and said, “Okay, okay, maybe some selfies but nothing below the neck.”

But then we had to have another honest and frank discussion about how fucking stupid you look when you do that pouty lip, peace sign combo (these are the kinds of things teens will grow up to regret, y’know?) in those above-the-neck selfies and to please for the love of all things good and holy to stop that shit right now. Those are very serious issues that warranted an open and meaningful discussion, and I’ll forever treasure the time you spent being uncomfortable and irritated.

It’s been a while, but I’ve got another subject to address, child.

When you pee, wiping yourself does not require wrapping your hand in so much toilet paper that there is no discernible difference between the appendage at the end of your arm and that of a thousand-year-old mummy.

I know you do this because you have terrible aim and are very lazy. Oftentimes, you miss the bowl entirely and your mondo, spherical bundle of tissue is lying on the floor to the right of the toilet staring up at me all sad, like, “I used to be an entire tree! Squirrels and birds took rest and shelter in my welcoming outstretched branches! Rosy-cheeked children picked seasonal fruit from my wooden arms. Look at me now—alone and forsaken on your disgusting hair-covered floor! You people are gross.”

And another thing: You know you’re wiping your own bajingo, right? You’ve not been charged with the vaginal care and keeping of Mama June, so you really don’t require such an immense-bag-of-cotton candy-sized barrier between your hand and what you are patting dry. Unless you are wiping while pissing, there really should not be a whole hell of a lot of wetness to dab. I’m not sure if you heard somewhere that urine burns like molten lava, but it does not. If you get a little pee pee on your hand or fingers, your skin will not burst into flame, blister, and peel off exposing only bone and whatever the fuck that squishy stuff is in between bones. Just calm down and make it work with four sheets.

Fun fact: Toilet paper wasn’t even invented until 1857! What do you suppose people used before the magical gift of flushable paper? Leaves? The fur side of animal pelts? The bloody side of animal pelts? The plumage of butchered chickens? A random village kitten who wasn’t fast enough, maybe? Fuck if I know. All those options are nasty and make me clench my butt cheeks together.

Clearly, we are fortunate to be living in a time when we can buy from a Costco or steal from a gas station bathroom soft tissue to pat our down-belows dry and wipe our dook-shoots clean.

By all means, rejoice and be glad for this modern convenience! Just don’t use so much that you could play Major League Baseball with the tissue mitt you have wrapped around your hand. Because after all, we have a large family, and TP ain’t free. Got it, Jeter?