When nature calls how will we answer?

We live in an age when advancements in products and technology induce intractable vertigo if we try to stay current. But there is one product humans use every day that remains unchanged.

Yes, readers, I’m referring to toilet paper.

Photo courtesy Pixabay, edits by author

How far have we progressed from the era when leaves were nature’s wipe?

My ancestors went to the outhouse, tore a page from a catalog, and used it for practical purposes. Today we still use paper, and you can quilt it, multiply its plies, and add perfume, but it doesn’t change the bottom line. You are cleaning a mess with something dry, derived from trees.

I hadn’t thought much about it until I heard a podcast address it. The speaker gave an example to expose our archaic wiping habits. Imagine having dirty hands from working in the garden and washing them with a dry, paper towel.

By way of progress, he said there is a minuscule display of adult wet wipes in the toilet paper aisle of most stores. I polished my magnifying glass and located these packages tucked amongst the Charmin.

Here is my evaluation:

  1. They are no bigger than a single square making any sizable cleaning job a risky situation if you know what I mean.
  2. They stink. I don’t favor scented products and combining the fragrance of lilacs with you-know-what made me gag.
  3. A wrong move breached the integrity of the tiny wipes. And using it to cleanse after a movement was a very wrong move.

We have experience with baby wipes having used them on grandsons, and I marvel at how much better they are than the adult version. They are larger even though designed for pint-sized bums. They are so sturdy Edward Scissorhands couldn’t poke through them. And to protect baby’s delicate skin, there are hypoallergenic and fragrance-free choices.

The adult wet wipe tore when I took it out of the package.

Storage dilemma

We haven’t had a grandson in diapers for over two years, but I keep a supply of Pampers sensitive skin wipes in the bathroom cupboard. You may think that solves my problem but retrieving them is a pain in the butt.

If I store the wipes on the back of the toilet, I need a chiropractic treatment after reaching for them. It’s not a good look to keep them on the floor, and they refuse to balance on top of the toilet paper holder. And how do I manage to have these backside saviors with me when I am away from home?

If we can carry powerful computers in our phones and maintain a space station orbiting around the earth, why can’t we access wet wipes when we need them?

Mission impossible

And about space travel, rumor has it a second spaceship will accompany any future mission to Mars. Will it contain redundant equipment astronauts will need if they run into trouble? Hell, no! That sucker will be full of toilet paper.

Who likes change?

I may have gotten to the bottom of the origination of the cliché, “No one likes change except a wet baby.” Of course, they like change when a soft, sturdy wet wipe is part of the package.

Do you share my dream that toilet paper will become a relic found only on display at the Smithsonian? Do you have a stash of wet wipes in your bathroom? Where do you store them?

Boomer on the Ledge doll available with book in my online store.

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92 thoughts on “When nature calls how will we answer?

  1. Molly! The merits of our bathroom habits had not crossed my mind until NOW! All I will say is until you have lived here you haven’t really had a care in the world of t/rolls…Where do I start?…Squat toilets in the middle of the night by the light of a torch down a garden path(well ) its a well worn track… I will not allude to any other inhabitants which may lurk as you stumble half asleep down the said track and if anyone was watching(the hubby) did sort of mention he would love to see how I mastered that one…My answer was in the negative…lol… but I am however mastering the knack….Toilet roll??? Nah! A water butt with a bowl…I will leave the rest to your very fertile imagination… In my bathroom at home i have a bum gun much cleaner than the said t/roll….Baby wipes I always have in my bag for those occasions when I have to use a squat toiletto…. But Molly you have made smile on this early Sunday morning as my thougts turn to breakfast and Somtam…..x

  2. Hi Molly: Just thought I would drop by to say hi and tell you that I am still alive and well. Been working on a second book (thanks in part to your recent book “Boomer on the Ledge,” as your book got my writing mojo moving again). But as luck would have it, my wife came down with the flu which has laid her up for a week now and that plus some other duties have been consuming most of my time. But she is starting to feel somewhat better and so it will be back to the writing desk soon. My goal is to publish this second Kindle book within the next two weeks if at all possible. If not – again, due to other commitments – hopefully it will be published before the end of February. Wish me luck. Cannot wait to get back writing again as I miss it – it keeps me grounded and helps not think about the other crazy things going on in the world around us. Talk to you later.

    • Sorry to hear of your wife’s illness. I hope she has a full recovery. Trust your writing – even if there are spaces of inactivity you will come back. Thanks for checking in. I’m so glad my Boomer on the Ledge has even a motivator for you!

  3. Be cautious with the Pamper wipes. We had a full on toilet explosion while potty training Lil A. The plumber came and charged us a huge insurmountable bill to repair. Because I had flushed pamper wipes down the toilet their was no coverage over the to the house as well… The plumber said even using “safe to flush” products you would still be liable.

  4. I…can you flush wipes down the toilet? I just assumed you couldn’t since you can’t flush kids or diapers down the toilet, figured it was a hat trick.

    Why would we use toilet paper in that case, when wipes would do the job 100% better?

    What have I been doing with my life???

    • You are supposed to be able to flush adult wipes – that’s why they are so flimsy. You are not supposed to flush the baby wipes which is why I’m looking into getting a bidet. But I still wonder why we are still using toilet paper when we have improved so many other everyday products.

  5. My goodness, you’ve hit on a great subject here, Molly. I’ve never understood why the makers of toilet paper put the perforations where they are. I mean, as you say, is that tiny sheet really going to do the job? And, have you ever wondered why places put toilet paper on a discounted sales price? Isn’t it something that we all need to still buy regardless of cost?
    And, before I go, if we can send a man to the moon, why has nobody yet invented something that means I don’t have to iron shirts and bedsheets anymore? Grr!

    • The topic has definitely resonated with people, Hugh. And we are all kids when it comes to bathroom humor, right? You ask an excellent question about the perforations and sale prices. Also one of my peeves is the endless role in public bathrooms that is as big as a tractor tire but only one ply paper. Once you wrench a shoulder finding the end of this role of infinity, you can only tear off microscopic pieces as it doesn’t have the strength to support pulling the paper off the role. Once you gather up enough of these shreds, you hope you can get the job done without any incidents, if you know what I mean. As for your shirts I have two words of advice for you: permanent press. I can’t help you with the sheet problem other than to suggest a therapist to help you iron this out.

      • *cough, cough* I think I do, Molly. Although, there is very rarely any paper in the public toilets in the UK, because people tend to pinch it. How and why they do it, I don’t know especially when the stuff is usually on a discount somewhere. Can I ask what ‘permanent press’ is? If it’s something like ‘non-iron’ shirts we have in the UK, then I still have to iron them. I don’t want to look as if I’ve just been pulled through a hedge backwards, so ‘non-iron’ shirts have a lot to answer for. 😀

        • People steal toilet paper? Crazy! Ours is locked in steel fortresses and I never thought about why, but apparently that has happened here, too. Yes, permanent press is non-iron. Apparently you have higher standards than I do. ‘Pulled through a hedge backwards’ made me guffaw! Hahaha!

  6. This is why I love the blogosphere – where else can I find a funny post about toilets first thing on a Wednesday morning? I only discovered wipes last year but I have to keep them at the side or I’d put my back out trying to reach them…

  7. I buy baby wipes instead of adult wet wipes as I found, same as you, as that the wet wipes just were too flimsy. Baby wipes are cheaper and have more in a packet too. I store them on the shelf by the toilet I like having the dry paper rolls too – the padded type make a good pad for my eye make up/nail enamel removal potions! 😊

  8. I have left over baby wipes in the cabinet, but haven’t thought of using them. When Tornado Boy was little, we kept them in a wipe-warmer. How luxurious is that? And yes, there is such a thing. Maybe int the future, instead of a toilet paper holders we’ll have warm wipe dispensers. Then we’ll have to buy batteries…. 😀

  9. This just “cracked” me up, Molly, mwahaha! We now use Kirkland brand TP from Costco and it seems to do the trick. For years my house sewer pipes were sensitive and clogged at the slightest use of anything but single-ply TP. You can imagine that fun in a house with three women/girls. Baby wipes, nope, can’t flush them so, ewww! 15 years ago we changed the pipes with trenchless system so we can flush real TP. My hubby and I had TP wars for awhile so we compromised with Costco. I’m still careful not to put hair in the drains or flush anything but TP. Such a fragile ecosystem…LOL! When we built our master addition, we put an A/C outlet right next to the toilet in hopes that a bidet is in out future.

    • Glad this ‘cracked’ you up, Terri! And that you replaced those sensitive pipes. And that your marriage survived the great TP debate. I know that baby wipes are not a sustainable answer. So I’m working on another solution that I hope to share in a future blog post. You are wise to plan ahead for a bidet!

  10. Lol, I’m with you, love the baby wipes for all the reasons you mentioned, especially fragrance free. But I’m still doing the chiropractic moves contorting to turn around to grab off the tank top LOL. 🙂

  11. Oh yes, I have an endless supply of wet wipes! I keep them in the cabinet under the sink, right next to the toilet ~ easy to reach and no need for followup chiropractics 🙂 ❤

  12. I so love your wit! Haven’t been active lately on the writing front due to other commitments and am beginning to miss it badly (hmmm, ‘badly’ – is that even a word?) Thank you so much for the ‘pick me upper’ with regards the toilet paper story. I have to get back to writing as it does so much good for one’s psyche!

    • Glad you enjoyed it, Irv. Badly is a word if you consider adverbs to be words. I tend to think of them as something to flush down the toilet. haha! Hope you’ll be back soon to your writing desk. It is good for the soul!

  13. Velcro them to the wall in front of you!! the box, not the wipes themselves!!
    Or, use Norwex baby cloths, and use an old fashioned diaper bucket!! Empty daily!!

    • The diaper bucket gave triggered some PTSD when I had diaper service for my son. I did it to save the environment, but having a diaper bucket was not fun! I like the idea of the velcro. I sense some movement in the right direction. Haha!

      • 😉 Only 1 month was all I could take of the diaper service. Then it was Pampers!! The environment would not die cuz of 1 more baby butt. Or so I consoled my shallow self…

    • Thank you, Althea! So glad you enjoyed the book and got a kick out of today’s post. I don’t seem to have a shortage of observations in this crazy, mixed up world that make me laugh and I love it when I can make others laugh, too. I’m going to post the picture of you and the sisters with the books and doll. ❤️

  14. Am I the only one concerned that Molly is listening to podcasts about wiping your butt? Well, not YOUR butt, but butts in general. Still, she made me laugh again. But let’s all keep a close eye on her, just in case.

    • You would notice that, Dave. I thought no one was going to pick up on my podcast habits. I like to listen to them when I’m in the bathroom. So you might want to pass on keeping an eye on me. Hahaha!

  15. I tried the wet wipes once and got a rash where it’s very painful to have one. Seems I’m allergic 😟. However, I do agree with all the comments about their non-biodegradability, I don’t think they do the job*.

    *Another pun for Scottish people as jobby is a slang word for, well, you know…

    • Oh no! That’s not a good outcome for trying wet wipes, Anabel. Reminds me of stories of campers getting ‘exposed’ to poison ivy while relieving themselves in nature. I think the toilet paper industry has brainwashed us to worry about biodegradability. After all, how many people carry hand towels instead of drying their hands with paper towels? Anyway, now I’ve got a new slang word! Thank you!

  16. So funny, Molly!! I had the “ where the heck do I keep the wipe box” dilemma just the other day. After turning around several times in my 5 X 5 ft bathroom, (and realizing I just couldn’t make any more shelf space no matter how many times I twirled around) I finally put the box back in the closet! Luckily the closet opens in the bathroom as well as the hall; and because of the limited space, I can reach the door without dragging my rear across the toilet seat!

    And as for your question, “When nature calls how do you answer?”, I’m only sure of one thing – sooner or later, everybody answers!

    • Hahaha! Since there is a new trend to ‘tiny houses’ there will be more ‘tiny bathrooms’ in the world to make your solution viable, Noreen. And yes, everyone answers the call. Even though according to the pharmaceutical industry they might need a specialized medication to urge things along.

  17. Hmmmm ..: it is a dilemma I agree however I can’t help but wonder whether wet wipes are the solution. Do they decompose? If not, someone should create ones that do or maybe create cloth numbers … Something for us to look into during the downtime at Erma?

    I have to say paying for toilet paper in German washrooms was an eye opener …

    • I’m not sure about the decompensation qualities of wet wipes and I bet there is a better answer if the geniuses of the world put their heads together. Bidets are the best option to date, I’d say. Wow! Paying for toilet paper in Germany. That’s putting your money where your butt is! See you in Dayton!

  18. Although toilet paper hasn’t evolved much over the years, wet wipes haven’t either. They are not flushable for the most part (and even those that claim to be have warnings in very small print not to flush more than one or two) and the thought their increased use will add to our landfill leaves this tree hugger saddened. But, I do LOVE our toilet/bidet combo and would recommend one to anyone (which I did in a post a few years ago). When my husband and I are travelling, the thing we most miss about home is our bidet (how pathetic is that?).

    • That is not pathetic at all! If I had a bidet I would never leave home. And you are right, both the toilet paper and the wet wipe industries are operating in the dark ages. Maybe it’s because they are so used to operating in dark places. I could go on and on about those industrial toilet rolls in public bathrooms that are the size of monster truck tires. It’s taken me twenty minutes to get two squares off one of those behemoths. Which is not fun when there is a line in the bathroom and you can hear heavy sighs outside your stall!

  19. So funny Molly, I needed a good laugh from my break at raking the roofs. I keep the adult wipes on the back of the toilet, figuring that little turn and stretch can count as exercise. I use two put together to make a thicker one, wasteful maybe but seems to help keep them from tearing. They do need to be larger though.

  20. I agree with you on the baby wipes, but as Silly Mummy says, disposal is a bother. They need to make a better flushable option.
    And I want a Toto too! (Why do I suddenly feel like following the yellow brick road?)

    • You are so right – they need to make a better flushable wet wipe option. Why would they, when the dry paper market dominates? I don’t think I’ll live to see this advancement, but in the meantime, it’s Toto all the way! If it’s a self cleaning toilet then we will have arrived in the Emerald City! (Why is that brick road yellow?)

  21. Oh my god, Molly, this has sent me down an absolutely horrifying path of thought, and I’m concerned about what that says about me as no one else seems to have fallen down the same rabbit hole as me! You see, I agree that baby wipes are amazing for many things. I also agree that those moist toilet tissues are too small and easily ripped due to the requirements of being flushable…And therein lies the horror I have fallen into. I can’t get past the question of what is happening to the baby wipes if they are used for adults. I want to stop thinking about it and I can’t. I know where they go with babies: inside nappy and into nappy bin or nappy bag. Okay. But they can’t be flushed…so where do they go if used by adults?? I wouldn’t be able to use them this way for that reason! Please don’t answer the question but where? Where do they go?? I can’t get out of this hole. Send help!

    • I was afraid someone would ask this question, Lucy. In honoring your request not to answer it, I’ll just say, there must be a discreet trash can that is emptied often. Until we can buy an ‘adult wet wipe genie’ that is.

  22. Too funny, Molly! Somehow I’m okay with regular ole’ dry toilet paper. (So unsophisticated I know).
    Thank you for the Wednesday morning chuckle!

    • I can see you are content with conventional toilet paper, Donna. But now that you’ve read this piece, do you have a nagging belief that you could have a better life? I still see the possibility for you to break through your denial. Haha!

  23. This made me laugh my a** off–which, if it were being literal, would certainly solve the issue of needing wipes! The Japanese are way ahead of us–their Toto brand of toilets combines the bidet and crapper in one. After you do your business, there are special thingies that spray your nether region with water and blow it dry–hands-free and without sacrificing trees (or your back as you contort to reach the wipes). So I guess there has been some progress…in fact, I wrote about some of the advances in toilet technology on my blog (https://boomerhaiku.com/toilet-talk-going-with-the-flow/). When you strive to be a, um, regular gal, this topic is top of mind, right?

    • I want a Toto, Roxanne! What a luxury that would be! Yes, I do remember that post you wrote. It made my brown eyes open with wonder and appreciation for advances in toilet technology! Glad you laughed your nether regions off this morning!

  24. What a novel way to start the New Year Molly. Where did you get that photograph? I am a big fan of the quilted paper.
    However, the highlight of my trip to Amsterdam last spring with my sister, was the heated water bidet in our bathroom. We shrieked with laughter on trying it for the first time, which set the tone for the holiday…

  25. In over a year of reading hundreds of blog posts, there hasn’t been a single occasion where I had given no thought at all to the topic the author was writing about…. until now. Honestly, Molly, wet wipes for adult bums occupied not one synapse of brain power other than to hate the television ad for them. I can’t stand that woman’s smarmy voice.

    I don’t know whether to thank you or (very gently) kick you because now I have something new and disturbing to ponder. And it’s not as if I can ignore it since there are daily reminders. Oh, dear.

  26. The future is in heated -water bidets followed by blowers (like hand dryers in public bathrooms) that warm and dry without any touching– and disperse any odors. Not sure how you’d design a squirt-bottle and battery operated fan for mobile use or as part of a port-a-potty deluxe unit. Imagine the purse you’d have to carry! Any takers for a kickstarter project?

    • Ahhh…a future of heated water bidets sounds divine! I like where you are going with this. As for the portable units, we might have to carry them in fanny packs. I’m sure there are multitudes who would get ‘behind’ a kickstarter project, aren’t you?

  27. Hilarious! And I keep mine on the back of the toilet even though I have to be a contortionist to reach them. You CAN buy a small purse sized pack. I used to have one but after I had only used a couple, the rest dried out before I could use them, probably because like most people I do my best to perform that “dooty” (duty) at home. I also tried the baby wipes but they are so large and soapy that zoo keepers could use one to sponge-bathe an elephant. I need to be hosed down to get all the suds off. Bring the bidet to the USA!

    • You made me laugh, Denise with your comments about doing your ‘Dooty’ at home and the analogy of the elephant. Bidets are part of the answer, indeed, Denise. I could (and may) do another post about the maligning of the bidet in the USA. I do like the Pampers sensitive skin baby wipes in the meantime. And I get no money for including them in my post which is a total waste!

  28. Toilets must be the flavour of the month Molly! I wrote a post just yesterday and I remember reading another post about them just last week! What’s going on in the world??? I enjoyed your post immensely!

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