By Ned Hickson
I have a friend in Atlanta who I consider an astute observer. The kind of person who is aware of even the most subtle changes in routine or appearance. Which is why it came as no surprise when I received the following e-mail from him:
I think they shrunk my toilet paper.
According to "Derf" (Note: Out of respect for his privacy I have created a fictitious name that should not be held up to a mirror), his recent purchase of Scott toilet paper seemed "more narrow than normal." Because many of you are probably reading this over breakfast, I will not explain how he reached this conclusion, nor will I ever be caught without two-ply toilet paper should he come to visit.
What I will tell you is that, after reading about his deductive process, I felt a need to go clean my hands, which I did, by dipping them in kerosene and lighting them on fire.
However, once the flames were out, my newspaper instincts took over and began pursuing the truth, in the tradition of other great investigative journalists (from the New York Times), by rolling up my sleeves and doggedly typing the words smaller toilet paper on Google. Before I get to the results of my exhaustive investigation, I just have to say I am continually amazed by the Internet, and how a search for even the most obscure subject -- like, say... flaming grapefruit jugglers -- will somehow yield hundreds of results, most of which are pornographic.
As I expected, "Derf" was right. According to a recent public announcement from Scott, the company has narrowed its sheets by nearly an inch. In my opinion, this decision seems to fly in the face of our nation's widening bottoms.
(If that last sentence makes it in, you'll know my editor was asleep.)
Scott says the reason it can make its sheets smaller is because its new version has a "longer-lasting, softer and more absorbent texture" that was "extensively tested by consumers before being introduced to the market."
OK, first things first. I think we can all agree on one thing: Ewwwwwww.
Secondly, I admit I have no experience in the area of product testing, except for trying to avoid those freakishly enthusiastic people handing out free samples at Costco, some of whom - and I'm not proud of this - I've gotten past by performing a ninja roll.
Following that train of thought, I have to wonder what qualifies as "extensively tested" when it comes to toilet paper, and whether there's a connection between the free food samples I'm constantly being offered while shopping, and the questionnaire I found hanging in the bathroom stall during my last visit. I suppose I should be thankful there wasn't someone in THERE handing out free samples.
Because, to be quite honest, performing a ninja roll at that particular time would've been out of the question.
Right now, you're probably asking yourself: What point is he trying to make?
I know I am.
Just kidding! Hahahahaha! Of course I have a point! I'm a journalist! It's my job to have a point; something thought provoking and informative that ties everything together with clarity and insight.
In this case, however, I think it might be too much to absorb.
You can write to Ned Hickson at:
The Siuslaw News at P.O. Box 10, Florence, OR 97439.