The Other I

April 6, 2020

Too quick to judgement

Filed under: Just Stuff — theotheri @ 2:17 pm

I read many years ago that the mother of the poet W. H. Auden scolded him as a child if he tried to use more than a single sheet of toilet paper.  My response has always been that she must have been a very controlling neurotic mother.

I began to rethink this judgement for the first time since it has been impossible to count on being able to get toilet paper as a result of the hoarding by people fearing they would run out of it during this pandemic.  As a result, I have found myself using single sheets whenever possible.   I even read that people in Oregon are being asked not to call 911 if they run out of toilet paper.  It’s true – I’m not making this up!

Then I learned from my husband who grew up in England during World War II that toilet paper was often impossible to get, and that his grandfather used to cut up squares of  newspaper and hang them onto a nail in the out-house housing their toilet facility.

Which got me wondering just how long toilet paper has even been available commercially.  I’ve learned that it was in the mid-19th century, and that the first toilet papers were simply unconnected sheets of paper.

Which has led me to conclude that perhaps I was a bit hasty in my judgement.  And that maybe Auden’s mother wasn’t so neurotic after all.

In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if there aren’t mothers today telling their children to be careful about how they are using toilet paper.  And that one sheet might be enough.


  1. I think folks here will soon be trading their wedding rings and other gold for a few rolls. I know some who are bragging about how much they have stored. I won’t say what I hope for them.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Thomas J. Hubschman — April 8, 2020 @ 6:03 pm | Reply

  2. i remember that during roman times, folks used pieces of broken pottery with their enemy’s name on it. i wonder why we are so afraid of facing our own excrement. get rid of it, flush it away. i have a few guesses, none of which i like!


    Comment by kateritek — May 28, 2020 @ 12:20 am | Reply

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