The Papa Files
by VINCENT CARDEGIN
AWARD WINNING COLUMNIST
I’ve been trying to hunker down since the last day of March, when I shopped at Exwork for supplies. My wife informed me that the store opened an hour early at seven, just for the elderly, so I left home at 6:20, and boy did I have flashbacks of when I worked there first shift, driving in the dark. I arrived at 6:35 and saw many shoppers exiting with cartloads of groceries and mainly TP. I discovered from an employee friend that the hour-early started at six, not seven. Oh well. No one checked my I.D. to see if I was elderly as I walked in. I guess my white beard was enough.
There were associate-guards in the paper aisles, making sure no one took more than one pack of anything. Fortunately I was able to get a stack of eighteen rolls of toilet paper, a twelve-pack of paper towels, and six shrink-wrapped boxes of facial tissues. My wife insists most of those are a waste of money, and she’s serious about eliminating all such paper products. For now I agree with her as far as towels and tissues; we have lots of kitchen and bathroom hand-towels, and I have eight handkerchiefs in my t-shirt drawer I can use if I must, for allergic sneezing and honking me snozzels. But I have no interest at all in learning how to wipe without paper. Even when I used my grandfather’s outhouse in 1967, my first time, he had toilet paper, not pages from a Sears catalogue, or corn cobs—can’t even imagine how that works. In 1969 I had to go number two while on a school outing in downtown Seoul, Korea. The public toilets looked like porta potties, but inside there were no seats, just holes in the ground that I had to squat over. Intense gagging helped vacate my bowels more quickly, but there was toilet paper!
Oh sure I’ve looked into that European butt-sink called “Bidet.” I insist we Americans spell it the way it’s pronounced: Behday. But in my three attempts to find out online (I only give the internet three chances) how to use it, I could not discover exactly the method to dry off afterwards, except for one article that suggested I do a Taylor Swift, which I guess means “shake it off.” (I just watched it and he must mean the half-second of the tutu scene?) I’m not shaking my backside around in the bathroom. I’d have to use a towel, and that will have to go in the washing machine. So no, no. Toilet paper is better than sliced bread. I can slice bread—I can make bread—but I can’t make toilet paper.
But then my wife made me go to Exwork on the eighteenth of April for more dirt and fertilizers. I reminded her that the last time I went was supposed to be the last time, according to her. She informed me that she had bought more plants since then. Well, I’m going to send her picture to all the big stores, and even the local nurseries, like Sherwood Florist—she hasn’t shopped there yet, but she might sneakily do so—and tell them to not sell plants to this person. –[email protected]