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Location: Clearwater, South Carolina, United States

Thursday, January 19, 2006

toilet paper

The question hung in the air like a confused hummingbird trying to decide which of two flowers to visit next. Or maybe like a rabbit in the middle of hot pavement, not knowing which way to hop. Or possibly like a lioness trying to decide whether to have the gnu or the zebra for supper. Wait – I took that a little far in my exuberance, since the main subjects of those last two sentences can’t hang in the air – at least not for very long. But then the point of that whole series of sentences was the indecisiveness – I think.

The question is – which is the proper way to place toilet paper in the holder? The first method of installation is with the product coming off the roll over the top, toward the user. The second way is coming off the roll underneath and hanging next to the wall. There might be other ways, but these are the two I’ll deal with today.

This is a very serious issue in some households with positive adherents on both sides of the question. Many arguments have taken place and it’s possible that some relationships have ended over this very problem. Since opinions were strong on both sides, I determined to do a bit of research on the subject and found over 600,000 references to toilet paper on the web.

Even with all this, I found very little about roll installation preferences, so I abandoned the web and decided to turn to a survey of my siblings. Since there are six of us, and evenly split between guys and gals, I felt that this would maybe give some sort of clue whether these methods were influenced more by heredity or environment.

First was my eldest brother and he said in no uncertain terms that he was an “under” installer. He commented that this was the only way that made sense – since it is easier to tear in that position and thereby saves paper. Next eldest is a sister and she is an ambi-positioner with no particular leaning, it goes in the holder however it falls in her hand. She even tried turning the roll around and said it felt natural that way as well.

Number three child is a sister and she is definitely an “over the topper”, she said that it was just more convenient. My younger brother weighed in as an “over the top” positioner because it’s closer. Our youngest sibling, a sister, is also an “over the top” person, she said it was easier to find in the dark.

I am fourth in birth order and our household preference is “under” – my wife prefers this way because, among other reasons, it just looks neater. Another reason is because if there are small children or pets in the household, they tend to unroll the paper if is installed “over the top”. We have some small “grands” but we have no pets, except small, very hardy, fish but they’re not allowed to use our bathroom – or even get out of their tank.

It’s not a huge issue with me but I am a closet “over the top” kind of person. But I go along with the program to promote peaceful co-existence. We have two daughters and they are both “over the toppers” and even had their Mom question as to how that could have happened since they were raised in an “under” household. Whatever answer they gave was probably not sufficient and has been lost to time.

Our local granddaughter is a “converter” and when she stays with us, she will - on the sly - turn the roll around in the bathroom she uses. Her Granna has brought this action to her attention, but she says that she just wasn’t raised that way (to be an “under”). These “conversions” brings me to hilarious laughter when I think about it; this just has to be caused by some of the silly genes that she inherited from me.

So which is the proper way? Our sibling survey tends to lean slightly in the direction of “over the top” but on a given day we could be split down the middle – due to my oldest sister. If the problem becomes too big and you have two bathrooms, one could be an “under” and the other an “over the top”. So is the position of placement caused by heredity or environment? I lean toward heredity because no matter how long I have practiced being an “under”, the “over the top” genetic material has surfaced in both my daughters.

What the Bible calls “sin” is related to both heredity and environment; and to just call sin a “problem” is the understatement of eternity because it can cause us to be separated from God forever, which is quite a long time. But Jesus Christ has already solved this “problem”; it’s our choice whether we accept His solution. ec


Blogger bubba said...

Why do we have to choose which way it goes. Like lifting the seat? why? If the roll isn't the way I like I would change it. Only takes a second. Same with the seat. With my spinal arthritius I can't reach the seat anyways.

1/19/2006 08:00:00 AM  
Blogger Peter said...

I'm a convert from under to over after readind a similar post a few months ago, I tried the over method and have decided I prefer it now.

1/19/2006 08:49:00 AM  
Blogger Anvilcloud said...

I was raised as an under guy, but my woman is an over person, so that's how we do it. I think under is more aesthetic and over is more accessible.

1/19/2006 11:02:00 AM  
Blogger mreddie said...

bubba - It is just one of those things I had to write about. :)

peter - Wow, a convert, maybe this is a serious subject after all. :)

AC - As I mentioned in the post, I'm a closet over that just goes along with the under program. :) ec

1/19/2006 12:41:00 PM  
Blogger adannells said...

My husband puts it on "under" and I do it "over the top". WE have never even said anything to eachother about. I think it is just an unspoken rule that whoever is the one in the bathroom when the roll runs out, then they get to choose how the new one goes on. This probably saves us lots of strife! :)

1/19/2006 07:23:00 PM  
Blogger Merle said...

Mr Eddie ~~ What a fascinating topic!! Just goes to show we can tackle any problem.
For the record, as I aim to please,
I have two toilet rolls in my loo
one over, and one under that I prefer.
Thanks for your visit and kind words. Julie is going so well, she may not be too long in hospital. Thanks for caring.

1/19/2006 09:49:00 PM  
Blogger mreddie said...

adannells - That is a very unique way to solving a potential problem. Not that young marrieds even have problems. :)

merle - That is also an interesting solution, the user is the chooser. :)

Keep us posted on Julie's condition as you have the opportunity. ec

1/19/2006 11:05:00 PM  
Blogger Using up the words.... said...

Mr Ed ~ I'm totally "over the top"! in more ways than just toilet paper, one might say. :)

My mother is the same... we decided it made more sense for the pattern of the toilet paper... it's there to be appreciated, and I think it looks better too. That, and with all the different motels/hotels I stay at - it would seem they all agree. No "from unders" yet that I've found down here. I'll be sure to let you know if I find otherwise.

I love your tie in with Christ though... most importantly. You are so gentle with your wisdom.

1/20/2006 03:39:00 AM  
Blogger mreddie said...

UUTW - Thanks much. Sounds like you are getting about back to normal. Of course normal to some is "over the top" with others. :) ec

1/20/2006 07:24:00 AM  
Blogger JunieRose2005 said...

AHHH- but either way one might choose to set-up their HOME toilet paper roll is much preferable to that of almost ALL public restrooms...
where the roll is usually LOST in this big dispenser. If you are lucky enough to be able to reach high into the thing and actually touch the roll - you find it comes off in tiny squares-or maybe just little torn scraps!!

...Makes one long for home- whether they be an over or under user!!


1/20/2006 10:15:00 AM  
Blogger mreddie said...

junierose - They must be trying to save paper because you are right that one can hardly get a whole square of it at one time.

1/21/2006 12:56:00 PM  
Blogger Granny said...

Oh my goodness. If you ever dig back through the archives to October 2005, you will find a over/under post on my blog. The vote was overwhelming for over the roll except for one sensible person who put it on the back of the toilet. She was tired of being the only one to ever replace the roll.

I know the feeling.

I've been meaning to ask you. In all your adventures with grits, have you ever eaten them with red-eye gravy?

1/23/2006 04:53:00 AM  
Blogger mreddie said...

granny - Yes, I have indeed had grits with red-eye gravy, but it's been years. Growing up poor and in the country, you ate grits with anything and everything, even hog brains and eggs. ec

1/23/2006 07:19:00 AM  

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