Grumble. It has occurred to me that I am the only person in my house who knows how to change a roll of toilet paper. It's not rocket science, people!! It doesn't matter that in one of the bathrooms, there was a new multi-pack of toilet paper sitting just by the toilet. No one had bothered to even open the package, let alone take a new roll out and replace it onto the empty spindle. In another bathroom, a half-used roll of toilet paper sat on the counter, just inches away from the spindle. Apparently, the effort of removing it from its packaging was so exhausting, that there was no energy left over to see that it made its way onto the spindle. It's just the sort of thing that causes me to pause after the exertion of a rigorous morning session of toilet paper replacement, in no less than three bathrooms, and ponder what would happen, if just for fun, I packed my bags and upped and left for a two month excursion to Kathmandu, just to see if anyone would replace the toilet paper roll in my absence. I have a feeling the unopened multipack of toilet paper would still be there to greet me, two months later.
After reflecting on the institution of marriage for over 17 years, it's begun to dawn on me that it's not the big things that count in maintaining a happy balance in relationships. At the end of the day, religion, politics and money all take the backseat to the lesser matters of the day - which, as it turns out, is the toilet paper.
I was intrigued when a friend (who happens to be Christian) told me that she and her spouse underwent a pre-marital interview with their pastor at their church, to ensure that they were compatible, and to have the blessings of the church to proceed with their holy union. Sure, they've been married for 14 years now, but I couldn't help but wonder if they tackled the bigger issue of toilet-paper-roll-changing etiquette at the pre-marital interview. I am thinking probably not, as she tends to complain about the same issues that I do. Her spouse works in the financial sector, but really, it doesn't matter - I know of physicists and mechanical engineers who are mystified and daunted by the prospect of changing a roll of toilet paper.
Having had a Hindu marriage ceremony myself, I can't help but feel I missed out on the telling pre-marital interview, though it's hard to imagine my Sanskrit-chanting, bare-chested, cotton dhoti-clad priest, with his limited command of English, conducting a pre-marital interview to ensure compatibility. But you can be sure if I ever get married again, I'll interview the candidate myself!
What sort of questions should be asked at a pre-marital interview? Certainly, it's important to cover the issues on how the couple will manage money, their religious beliefs, their roles in the relationship, their ideas on child rearing, at what temperature the thermostat should be set, etc. But let's face it, none of the answers to the aforementioned even matter, if they don't share similar beliefs on toilet-paper-roll-changing etiquette.
Therefore, I have constructed a short sample questionnaire which I will be sure to send, along with a letter of recommendation that these questions be added to the existing set of pre-marital interview questions posed to those hopeful, happy couples presenting for the Lord's blessings, to the heads of the major churches in the United States: Roman Catholic, Episcopalian, Lutheran, Methodist, Baptist, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, Mormon, etc.
It is my firm belief that these questions should be mandatory and posed in a pre-marital interview session, for all couples, regardless of faith or creed:
1) Do you even check before you sit down to use the facilities, whether the toilet paper has depleted on the roll?
a) yes ----> Good choice! Move on to the next question!
b) no ------> Wrong answer. Check with your optometrist as to whether you need glasses.
2) What is your response when you see that the toilet paper has depleted on the roll?
a) I immediately check my well-stocked pantry and get a roll of Charmin (the extra-fluffy kind that my spouse likes), and replace it like the grown-ass man (or woman) that I am, with an air of responsibility and accomplishment.
b) I holler for someone to get me some toilet paper, while attempting to use the two remaining squares that are sticking to the cardboard.
c) I grab a tissue from the box of tissues on the counter, instead.
d) What toilet paper??
3) The correct placement for the toilet paper is:
a) on the spindle, positioned so that the paper rolls under, not over.
b) on the spindle, positioned so that the paper rolls over, not under
c) on the sink, floor or anywhere close enough to grab.
d) what toilet paper?
4) The correct position for the toilet seat after I've used the facilities is:
If you and your prospective spouse answered all a's, you get a diploma in Advanced Toilet Paper Roll Changing Etiquette from me, and you have my blessings to marry, knowing that you can confidently navigate any rough waters ahead since you've dealt with the far weightier matters!
In the event that you are one of those unfortunate souls who is already married to someone who has failed the quiz above, then you will want to gently direct him or her to this insightful and informative how-to article from e-How, which is very helpful in the instruction of changing the toilet paper roll. Just smile very sweetly and tell them it's in the interest of retaining your marital bliss. After all, we all have to learn, SOME time!