Take This Roll and Shove It

Sheryl Crow says one square of toilet paper is enough, buddy.

Sheryl Crow wants us to use “only one square per restroom visit” of toilet paper when we use the toilet. By “we,” I take it she means women since the only man I know who blots his weenie after peeing is David Beckham.

La Crow admits that there are “those pesky occasions where two to three could be required.” Two or three? What do you eat, Sheryl? Iams and Science Diet? As long as you’re citing exceptions, what about explosive diarrhea? Must we requisition extra? And what if you wipe and then have to go again, Sheryl? How about a long, snotty sneeze in the vicinity of the bathroom? What’s the allocation there?

I’m a little surprised that she took off after toilet paper. She mentioned paper napkins, which seems a much more reasonable place to start, since they don’t actively involve personal hygiene. The downside to using cloth napkins is that they must be washed. Washing usually involves soap, water usage, and electricity, but maybe that’s the fair trade. Clean napkins are as much a necessity to the restaurant industry as they are to household eating. She didn’t even mention disposable diapers.

True story: Labor Day weekend 1970, I ran away from the oppressive confines of my comfortable middle-class home in Seattle and ended up at the Sky River III rock festival in Washougal, Wash. Some other time I’ll relate the incident with the cardboard carpet tube made into a gigantic pipe and loaded with pot. When the festival ended, the few hundred or so remaining attendees were bused out of the grounds and to Delta Park in Portland, Ore. A bunch got together and decided to form a commune. This was a rotten idea, but at the time, it seemed liberating. A few acres of land near a river was offered in exchange for helping the farmer and his family with crops and chores. You can’t imagine a happier, more boneheaded bunch of hippies, me among them.

The situation went bad as communal supplies ran out quickly. Toilet paper went as fast as economic resources and with it, the first wave of departures. Days of eating lousy spaghetti with squash sent others packing. A fight between the men who wanted to be king separated the leftovers into two camps. The final straw was the proposal by two men that the women abandon using tampons and sanitary napkins and use washcloths. The idea was that they could be washed and reused but clearly none of these men had ever walked around with terrycloth wadded into their crotches.

The women, almost as a whole, revolted. Within three days, most of them left the commune, which was now a shantytown of old tents and sleeping bags, and a persistent case of crabs vanquished the die-hards. I rode in the back of a truck to I-5 with the girl who was my tentmate, and we hitchhiked back to Seattle, each dreaming of a hot shower and clean underwear.

I try not to waste products like toilet paper, napkins, and paper towels, but to have a richass rock star play the Mother Teresa of Earth Day really sticks in my craw. I want to pee without worrying about whether or not Sheryl Crow will burst in my house and demand an accounting of my toilet paper.

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Sheryl Crow, toilet paper, Sky River III

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