What toilet paper does for people’s derrieres contributes considerably more to the abyss between the classes than a good many external signs.
– The Elegance of the Hedgehog
My junior year of college I found myself at a friend’s campus housing, loading my backpack with the free campus toilet paper. When the backpack was zippered up I looked like an industrious, hard-working student who had just spent a day expanding his intellectually curious mind with a backpack full of books. What my friend and I knew was that I was a cheapskate, and I had either just hit a new low, or discovered something great: a new way to not spend money.
It was toward the start of the year and I had my own apartment for the first time. When I had started the year my mom had driven down with me to SMU with all of my belongings and she helped me move in. We ran to Sam’s/Costco/Target/Bed Bath and Beyond/whatever (it’s all a blur) and she bought a lot of stuff for me. One of the things we got was a big package of toilet paper. The nice kind.
The campus toilet paper was obviously bought for quantity, not quality. Where Quilted Northern can describe itself as plush, this stuff would describe itself as vengeful and angry. “Dear spoiled college students, go take your naps and enjoy this carefree time of your life … I’ll bring you down a notch.”
When I got home I unloaded the haul – I would be set with toilet paper for a while, and when I ran out?, who cares!, a quick walk to my friend’s campus housing and wha-la, I was set yet again. I didn’t know how much toilet paper cost, but I felt like a champion of thriftiness.
Then, the dreaded day. The last of my mom-purchased, high quality toilet paper and the switch back to the campus stuff. WAIT A MINUTE!, my body seemed to say, I thought we’d moved past this stuff! Apparently, apartment life had spoiled me some (in other ways – the ants, the forgetting to pay the electricity that one summer month, it had not).
I was talking with a few friends and toilet paper came up, and what I said surprised my cheap self (and my friends for my over-sharing): “You know, I think one thing I don’t mind splurging on is toilet paper …” (This statement was greeted with surprised/confused/amused looks.) “WHAT?!,” I said not at all casually in defense, “it’s … I mean, come on!, it’s worth the comfort!”
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