Thursday, September 18, 2008

A New and Improved Wiping Experience

It’s hard to imagine a time before toilet paper. Legend has it that the idiom “the wrong end of the stick” came from the practice of using cloth-covered twigs to clean up after a bit of messy business. If you’re not careful where you grab it, the saying implies, you might have a sticky situation on your hands. Of course, we all know this saying has nothing to do with bathroom humor and everything to do with the point-sharpened sticks ancient peoples used for eye gouging during domestic disputes. Regardless, toilet paper has become an essential part of our daily lives, as we use it not only for its intended purpose but also to protect ourselves from the deadly plagues populating public toilet seats, for gingerly grabbing stomped cockroaches before flushing them down the toilet, and for decorating our enemies’ front yards. So it’s unforgivable that so little attention is afforded the continuing advances in toilet paper technology. Sure, there are still a lot of sore backsides after the whole scent-adding debacle of the last decade. Who knew so many people’s sensitive areas were so sensitive to harsh potpourri-smelling chemicals? But science has learned from its mistakes and moved on. And starting Monday, the world will be introduced to the greatest advancement in toilet paper science since perforated squares. That’s when the Georgia Pacific Innovation Institute will unveil it’s latest invention: three-ply Quilted Northern. That’s right, friends. Say goodbye to running out of plies after the first two. Now there will be three layers of highly-porous tissue paper separating your fingers from your feces. Of course, science is all about peer review, and not everyone is buying G.P.’s claims. They’re taking the marketing angle that 50% more ply equals 50% more softness. But others have pointed out that ply count doesn’t equate with softness so much as strength. This new Quilted Northern may hold up to more stubborn waste matter, but it won’t be any gentler on your bum skin. Does this mean that in addition to adding an unprecedented third ply, the new Quilted Northern will also feature tissue made from advanced fibers? Maybe. Have I spent way too long writing about toilet paper? Most likely. More details here.

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