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  • Writer's pictureFred

Toilet Paper: A Short Story

When I was a kid, I had read that people were forced to use the pages of the Sears Catalog for Toilet Paper during the Great Depression. When I asked my Grandparents if that story was true, the ones that lived in the country confirmed that they knew, firsthand, that those were in fact true tales.

(For kids asking: What is Sears? That's a short story for another day.)

With that in mind......

July 9, 2020, I had to use the Men's Room at work. When the waves of the Pandemic first washed across America, I was sent to work from home and I was free to do my natural functions in the privacy of my own abode. While I was able to do my work from the laptop, my co-workers, the mechanics, continued to go to the workplace and ply their trade. March, April, May, & June, they braved the unseen perils of the coronavirus and were seemingly none the worse for wear.

I entered the restroom and found no toilet paper anywhere, so before I could do my business, I had to grab a half a dozen rolls from the Ladies Room supply closet. I returned to the Men's Room in the garage area and put some toilet paper on top of the lockers for the mechanics and kept one to use for myself, replenishing the empty container on the wall.

As I sat down, I noticed that in the shadows, under the lockers, there was a roll of toilet paper that was shredded to pieces. It appeared as if someone had dropped a roll in the toilet, scooped it out, then instead of throwing the roll in the garbage, they chucked it into the corner. I looked at that roll with disgust, "what kind of animals do I work with?"

As I finished my respite, I hunted down one of the mechanics and said we need to shame the culprit who threw the roll into the bowels of the building. He looked at me and laughed, "I forgot you were working from home."

"Yeah, so?" Was my reply.

"It got pretty bad here."

"Bad as in what way?" The conversation had turned.

"We ran out of toilet paper. Our supplier didn't make any deliveries and our wives wouldn't let us take any from home. We couldn't find any at local stores, we were really in a creek. That shredded roll didn't fall into the toilet, that's an optical illusion. That's just what it looks like, it's not toilet paper at all. At one point, the other mechanic was taking rolls of cheap paper towels, sawing them in half, and passing them around as a man's solution."

I visibly grimaced.

"Listen, a man's got to do what a man's got to do. You weren't here."

He was right, I wasn't there. "You do know that's going to fuck up your plumbing, right?

He laughed again "we're mechanics, not plumbers."

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