Just the other day, a question popped into my head. I don't know what prompted it, but sometimes my mind works in mysterious ways. I brought the query up to my wife and a short discussion ensued, because that's how things go in the Pincus house. The question concerned the orientation of the toilet paper roll in our home's three bathrooms.
In my house, growing up, the unspoken rule was that the roll of toilet paper be placed with the available length coming over the top of the roll, cascading like a waterfall. This was determined by — gosh, I would assume — my mother, since my mother determined how pretty much everything was done in our house. She did the grocery shopping, despite the fact that my father was the manager of a single location of a local supermarket chain. That's right, my dad worked all day in a supermarket and never — and I mean never ever — did he bring anything home from his store. My mother did the shopping at a different location from the one he worked or sometimes even at a rival market. She never got a discount and never questioned that situation. She selected which brands of everything were purchased, so I can only assume that, once she got everything home, she determined which way the rolls of toilet paper were placed in the holder. When I went to friends' homes, I thought it was odd if I discovered that their family placed the toilet paper the other way in the roll.
When I got married, I soon found out that my bride came from a home that positioned their toilet paper in the "come from underneath" orientation. Not wishing to make trouble in our new marriage, I said nothing. After a while, I got used to it, although I was probably corrected a few times, followed by silent reorientation if I happened to have been caught backsliding into my old ways. Soon, placing the toilet paper in the correct direction became second nature.
When our son was born (and eventual toilet training achieved), he, of course, was schooled on the proper way in which to install a new roll of toilet paper, as he had now joined the ranks of those responsible for refilling a depleted roll.
A few years ago, my son, now thirty, moved into his own home with his girlfriend. Their house — a narrow, two story home in South Philadelphia — is a cute and cozy little dwelling and they have made it a true home for the two of them. But, as I mentioned at the beginning, the question of toilet paper placement popped into my head and I needed my boy's take on the situation. We went to a concert recently and, over dinner, I asked him the burning question.
"You came from a house that puts the toilet paper in the holder so it unrolls from the bottom." I began my opening statement. He nodded and cocked his head to one side in anticipation of where I was going with this.
"Yes?," he listened suspiciously.
"So how do you put the toilet paper in the holder, now that you have your own house?," I continued my query, "and how does it jibe with Pandora's (his girlfriend) habits and upbringing?" I don't remember his answer. It was either "over the top" or "from underneath." I forget.
In reality, the important thing is that someone refills the roll. That's the polite thing to do and it's something we can all agree on.
Now, on to more important issues.