Wiped out

The Compass - - EDITORIAL - Harold Wal­ters

I say this with­out equiv­o­ca­tion or qual­i­fi­ca­tion: We live in a won­der­ful land.

Ear­lier tonight I wit­nessed some­thing on tele­vi­sion that re­in­forced what I’ve al­ways be­lieved. What I said in open­ing, there­fore, bears re­peat­ing: We live in a won­der­ful land.

Dear­est Duck in her rocker and I in my Lay-Z-Boy both saw the happy danc­ing lady in a tele­vi­sion com­mer­cial.

“My Duck,” said I, nod­ding at the lady spin­ning mer­rily. “Goes to show we live in a won­der­ful land.”

“Harry?” said Dear­est Duck, sur­prised, I s’pose, that I was of­fer­ing what sounded like a pa­tri­otic ob­ser­va­tion.

“Mis­sus on the tele­vi­sion,” I said. “Look at what she’s wear­ing.”

I was speak­ing of the twirling lady’s gown. Like a ball­room dancer, she spun in in­tri­cate cir­cles, caus­ing her gown’s tail to flair like the spread­ing petals of a …oh, I don’t know…of a tulip or some such bloom.

As if en­chanted, she pirou- et­ted like Cin­derella re­leased from Prince Charm­ing’s finger tips, lend­ing a Dis­neyesque ef­fect to the folds of her toi­let tis­sue gown.

Toi­let tis­sue?

Truly, toi­let tis­sue.

Likely you’ve seen the com­mer­cial.

A fraz­zled house­wife — dare I say house­wife? — touches her cheek with a roll of toi­let tis­sue and is in­stantly trans­formed into a princess fox-trot­ting, or tan­go­ing, or what­ever, in snow-white rai­ment crafted com­pletely of toi­let pa­per.

Dear­est Duck glanced at the danc­ing lady, then spocked an eye­brow at me.

“We live in a won­der­ful land,” said I. “A land so free from tor­ment that we are free to fan­ta­size of trip­ping light fan­tas­tics be­decked in arse…” “Harry! Mind your mouth.” “My Duck?” “Stop your old fool­ish­ness.” Hav­ing chas­tised me, Dear­est Duck left her rocker, stooped to peck my nog­gin’s dome where once thick curls resided, and tod­dled off to our mat­ri­mo­nial boudoir.

“I’m off to bed,” she said. “If you want to stay up watch­ing women dressed in toi­let pa­per that’s your choice.”

“Good-night, my Duck,” said I.

Left alone to cog­i­tate, I ac­tu­ally clicked off the tele­vi­sion, opened my brand new birth­day lap­top and waited im­pa­tiently for Mr. Google’s door to open.

By the time I de­parted Mr. Google’s house Dear­est Duck’s com­fort­ing snores re­ver­ber­at­ing from bed-cham­ber walls.

While vis­it­ing Mr. Google I’d learned that the Chi­nese in­vented toi­let pa­per way back in one of their his­toric dy­nas­ties. I’m not sure if it was the same dy­nasty in which they in­vented gun­pow­der.

Likely there was no con­nec­tion any­way, eh b’ys?

De­spite be­ing a life-long seeker of ar­cane knowl­edge, I’ve al­ways been in­ept at sort­ing out time pe­ri­ods — eras, or epochs, or ages.

Nev­er­the­less, while roam­ing Mr. Google’s rooms in search of bum-wip­ing ob­scu­ri­ties, I learned that the Ro­mans — be­fore or af­ter the en­dur­ing Chi­nese in­ven­tion? — em­ployed a re­us­able stick for the san­i­tiz­ing pro­ce­dure.

Not just any old re­us­able stick though.

Pic­ture one of those long­han­dled loofah brushes, only in­stead of the abra­sive pumice-like scrub­bers the Ro­mans — renown en­gi­neers of aque­ducts and other flush­ing de­vices — fas­tened a sponge to the han­dle.

I failed to find any in­for­ma­tion re­gard­ing whether or not the han­dle of the sponge was er­gonom­i­cally curved to min­i­mize strain while in hu­man em­ploy but I did dis­cover that while on standby await­ing its next ap­pli­ca­tion, the long­han­dled sponge swab soaked in a jar of vine­gar.

Truly.

I fancy that hard-by the Ro­man seat of evac­u­a­tion the sponge was po­si­tioned as nowa­days the bowl scrub­bing brush is tucked in­con­spic­u­ously be­hind the flush tank.

P’raps I nod­ded off and dreamed a tremu­lous dream in which a princess swad­dled in toi­let tis­sue danced among the black spruce for­est where my fam­ily once lived a win­ter in the woods.

That win­ter fam­ily fe­males were al­lowed the mod­esty of an in­door slop pail. Males, the more ro­bust sex, were of­fered no such niceties. A sapling, strate­gi­cally felled so it lodged across a suit­able stump, served as a rail­ing — sorta — over which men and boys could … well, hang out their fun­da­ments, I s’pose.

Of course, nei­ther woman nor man had the lux­ury of rolls and rolls of cot­tony-soft toi­let tis­sue. For­tu­nately, Mr. Ea­ton supplied fine thick cat­a­logues whose rum­pled pa­per served the pur­pose … yet no one dreamed of danc­ing swad­dled in Ea­ton’s pages.

A fi­nal, oft pon­dered rhetor­i­cal ques­tion comes to mind. You know how some­times, to sug­gest the ob­vi­ously ob­vi­ous, some wit will ask, “Do bears go whoop­sie in the lo­cal flora?”

In ad­di­tion to dis­play­ing danc­ing ladies, tele­vi­sion ad­ver­tis­ing pro­vides an an­swer to this ques­tion …

…and the an­swer is…

…Charmin.

Thank you for read­ing.

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