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Beacon Senior News

Toilet paper new year resolutions

Nov 23, 2020 11:22AM ● By Lois Greene Stone

Remember your childhood New Year’s resolutions? Probably not, but you might remember writing them down. One year, growing up in the 1940s, I decided to write them down on toilet paper.

Well, technically the outer wrap called it “Facial Quality, Double-Ply, Bathroom Tissue.” Why didn’t it just come out and say what it was?

My older sister informed me that the wrapper used a euphemism: a substitution of a word people might not like for a word they will. The word “toilet” bothers a lot of people. Otherwise, public ones wouldn’t be called “the little girls’ room,” or the “restroom.” Who goes to the bathroom to rest?

So, I learned that if I announced I was going to write my new year’s resolutions on facial-quality bathroom tissue it’d sound chic, but if I said I’d planned next year’s promises on toilet paper it’d conjure up yucks.

But I faced a dilemma: Should I unroll and start at the top or write on the first sheet and work my way up? If I unroll it first, then my mom would have to unroll to start reading and roll up the paper as she goes along. I thought that’d be more dramatic. 

I knew my dad would go nuts watching the whole thing flop down until the cardboard roll appeared. Then he’d have to read and roll at the same time. This vision was more fun than my New Year’s resolutions. I had cellophane tape handy for the rips that I’d have to repair. 

With a greasy pencil that my mom used on Mason jars for canning her victory garden-grown vegetables, I began.

• Next year I promise I’ll try and be nicer to my sisters.

• I’ll try and not make up excuses to get out of house chores.

• I’ll really try and practice the piano without whining.

• I won’t tell lies to get my sisters in trouble.

• I’ll stop using “I’m the middle child” as an excuse to make my parents feel guilty.

• I’ll walk the dog and not just play with her (but I won’t clean up after her when she’s sick—that’s Mom’s job).

And so it went, square after square—which, during World War II, wasn’t too fluffy. I think I made up a lot just to fill the space. 

Next, I carefully rolled up my resolutions and placed the cylinder on my parents’ bed as I didn’t think it was appropriate to place on the kitchen table. I imagined my parents unrolling it and reading, laughing, then wondering when it would stop. 

Soon, it’ll be 2021. Even if I wanted to re-enact my comedic 2-ply resolutions, I now realize that one “wasted” roll for silly purposes was probably something my parents thought about with three daughters and wartime shortages.

Besides, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, stores are rationing toilet paper anyway!