I’m Too Strong For Toilet Paper

(screw ‘scrunch or fold’, I just rip)

In a world in which all that was once clearly defined and unchangeable has become fluid and malleable – from gender to the chemical state of H2O – it’s reassuring to have some things that always stay the same, like toilet paper: the individual sheets are evenly perforated, meaning I get security and peace of mind whenever I go the toilet, as I’ll know roughly how much toilet paper I’ll have to use, and even if I use more or less than normal, I’d be able to accurately determine the extent of this abnormality – did I use one extra sheet, or two?

However, there is a problem with toilet paper: it is too easy to rip beyond the perforations once one is strong enough. I’m not the most well-built of individuals, so I’d imagine you probably encountered this problem before I have done, at the puberty-conquering age of seventeen that I am, but this is a new problem for me.

Firstly, this means that I don’t know exactly how much paper I have used; this is not an immediate problem, as I am the epitome of the teenage ‘your-parents-are-a-free-hotel/kitchen/launderette/toiletry-purchasing business’ school of economic thought, but there will come a time where I will have to buy my own toilet paper, and not being able to estimate how much I have left, and therefore how much I need to buy, accurately will be a great inconvenience.

Furthermore, my intense paper-ripping undermines my use of the paper: I use a weird, foldy, rolling overy sort of technique, where evenly-torn sheets mean that I can roll a fresh piece of paper onto the used paper, covering it entirely, and providing a large, clean area to use. However, unevenly-torn pages mean that they used area is not always totally covered, forcing me to manoeuvre the paper in such a way to catch the clean bit of the paper on my arse, like a sanitary equivalent to operating a particularly clunky arcade claw game with a blindfold and your pants around your ankles, or just discard the lump of paper entirely and start afresh.

And this latter method is ruined by the first problem: if I can’t judge the amount of paper I have left, I may throw away a lump of half-used paper, thinking there is enough left on the roll to be of use. This has not been the case on a number of occasions.

There’s also the aesthetic factor, that a correctly-torn piece of paper will hang from the roll with a flat bottom, while an unevenly-torn sheet flops limply like a torn flag dangling pathetically from the top of some conquered capital, the sadness and defeat of the scene reinforced by that flag’s initial promise to be a symbol of hope and unity, or the ease with which toilet paper could be ripped in a more aesthetically pleasing manner.

I also can’t think of a solution, beyond either hacking half of each of my biceps off to lower my physical strength – because just eating unhealthily would only add weight to my arms, making erroneous and accidental tearing-off even easier – or embarking upon a program of rigorous mental training, perhaps through electric shock therapy, to force myself to be more bloody careful when ripping toilet paper, with all the intensity and fear of a Goebbels speech.

But I don’t want to incapacitate my arms with a month to go until exams, and I really haven’t got the time to teach myself that LITTLE TEAR = GOOD, BIG RIP = BAD so I guess I’ll have to put up with this for a few weeks longer.


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