Toilet Paper
John Norberg, humor columnist s

Before most couples marry they go through counseling with the pastor, rabbi or whoever is performing the ceremony. This is to make certain they understand how to deal with issues that await them Ėwork, kids, money.

Of course these are relatively minor compared to the real things that drive married people crazy Ė how to load the dishwasher, what temperature to set the thermostat and, of course, this classic: Should the toilet paper roll go over or under.

We all know that opposites attract and that is exactly what happens with couples. Inevitably, an under person will fall in love with an over person, they will marry and they will spend the rest of their lives changing the way the toilet paper hangs in their house.

I suppose itís okay to be insistent about your own toilet paper. But if you go to your friendsí homes and change theirs, you might have a problem. In our house, the issue goes beyond under or over.

Wife: ""Somebody isnít changing the toilet paper rolls when theyíre empty."

Only two people live in our house. So when things go wrong my wifeís list of suspects is pretty short. But, good woman that she is, she blames it on Somebody to avoid accusations.

Somebody ate the last piece of pizza. Somebody left crumbs on the counter. Somebody put my formerly best white blouse in the washer with his black pants and then shrunk it three sizes in the dyer. Somebody gets into a lot of trouble at our house.

I suspect when the time comes for my eternal reward my wife will put on my tombstone: "Somebody is buried here."

Wife: "Why is it every time I go into a bathroom in our house the toilet paper roll is empty? Why am I always the one who has to change it? Canít Somebody do it?"

Bathrooms are the center of many issues in a marriage. There is the up or down toilet seat, too much stuff and too little counter space, too many shavers and dryers and not enough outlets. Do you squeeze from the top of the toothpaste or the bottom?

I think married couples should share everything in life, with the possible exception of a bathroom.

Guest Bathroom is the name for a place in our house that Iím not allowed to enter. When I was a boy my mother called it a "Powder Room" with the clear implication that I would get powdered if I messed it up.

Guest Bathrooms are always perfectly clean and they are home to the Guest Towels. Guest Towels are not cloths for drying our hands. Guest Towels are wall accents selected to highlight the dťcor of the Guest Bathroom.

Guest Towels are carefully folded. They hang perfectly. They are attractive and expensive.

And, of course, no one ever uses them. Not even the guests.

Theyíre too good. No one is going to be the first one to mess up a Guest Towel.

We had friends coming over the other evening. My wife prepared wonderful food and set it out in the kitchen. I did what all husbands do when guests are expected. I started eating the food.

Wife: "Donít eat all that, itís guest food."

Me: "Arenít I a guest?"

Wife: "No, guests are people who donít do any work to get ready for a party, they just come and enjoy themselves and . . . Oh, never mind. Maybe you do qualify as a guest."

I decided to use my newly discovered status to use the Guest Bathroom.

Wife: "I hope you didnít use the Guest Towels."

Me: "I know better than that."

Wife: "What did you use to dry your hands?"

Me: "The toilet paper."

Wife: "Did you use it all up? I hope Somebody didnít leave an empty roll of toilet paper in our Guest Bathroom right before our guests arrive."

Itís not my fault. I would change the roll when itís empty.

But I can never remember if it should go over or under.

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