Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Sticks, Stones, and the Farmer's Almanac

Okay, kids, buckle up your seatbelts. Today I'm gonna tackle a rather sensitive subject. Any guesses?

Awhile back we did some redecorating here at the house. Laid new kitchen flooring, had painters come in and paint the upstairs and the kitchen and bath. I crocheted our valances for the kitchen windows cuz I couldn't find curtains that I liked, nor did I want to spend a fortune for them. Well, anyway, my hubby didn't care to drill new holes in the wall so he went to Walmart and brought home a freestanding toilet paper holder that has place for extra rolls. Perfect-O!

A person cannot help but wonder what it must've been like in the past when there was no such thing as t.p. Curious thoughts have been chewing my brain away about this today, so I gave up and Googled.......yup, the history of toilet paper.....

The ancient Greeks used stones and clay, ancient Romans used sponges on the ends of sticks that they kept in jars filled with salty water, and the mideasterners used sand and the left hand, which is supposedly still considered unclean. The Eskimos used tundra moss in the summer and handsful of snow the rest of the year. Those living in the tropics used coconut shells. Chinese emperors were the first to actually use paper for this purpose and ordered it made in 2-foot x 3-foot sheets. Corn cobs, leaves and pages from newspapers and magazines. The Sears catalog produced funny jokes like the "Rears and Sorebutt." Here's one for ya......the Farmer's Almanac with the little hole punched in the corner served double time by being relegated (at the end of the year) to the out-house so that it could be hung on a hook and the pages torn off easily for this delicate purpose.

Interestingly enough, back in 1973 there was actually a shortage of t.p. How it happened was that there was a shortage of oil in the 70's. So, when people heard the word 'shortage' they'd hurry out and buy up these things since they already knew what it was like standing in line to get gasoline for their cars. Anyway, on December 19, 1973, the writers for Johnny Carson heard that the federal government was having trouble getting bids to supply t.p. and that it was possible that in just a few months the U.S. could face a shortage. So, Johnny jumped on this in his usual spontaneous manner and used a joke in his famous monologue saying, "You know what's disappearing from the supermarket shelves? Toilet paper. There's an acute shortage of toilet paper in the United States."

The next day 20 million people that had watched Johnny the night before ran out and bought all the toilet paper they could get. By noon the stores in America were "wiped out." (sorry, couldn't resist that one) The shortage lasted only three weeks, which is how long it took for the manufacturers to restock the shelves.

For the crafters out there, if you go to, you can learn how to make flowers out of toilet paper. Ain't it something!

The personal opinion poll of the day: How many squares are there on a normal roll, not the big roll? And, what is really the right way for the paper to come off the roll.......over the top or the from the bottom?