The Importance Of Toilet Paper

by | Dec 11, 2020 | Lifestyle | 13 comments

Yes.  Toilet paper. I want to talk about it. We all know it’s important to wipe yourself and make sure you’re clean and blah blah blah…  That’s not what I’m talking about. What if I told you that the importance of toilet paper is much more nuanced than that? For lack of a better phrase, it’s much deeper than that. Hold onto your butts because this is going to get dirty. Flush your expectations. A fourth pun. Anyway, let’s do this.

Starting the new roll before using up the old one

I mean, seriously… who does this?

I guess I should start this off with where the idea came from. I’m a Case Manager at a homeless shelter. I work in an office with three men, three women, and two unisex bathrooms. There was a period of time where going into the restroom was a gamble, and not in the way you’re thinking. It was common to see a roll of toilet paper sitting on top of an almost used-up roll still inserted on the dispenser.  The nearly used-up roll would still have a good amount left, so there was no need to even open a new roll. This left me befuddled.  

Around this time we were attending trainings for Crisis Management and counseling tactics. As Case Managers, we receive regular trainings to aid our interactions with people. These trainings include reading actions or body language to help assess an individual’s personality and characteristics. So, I guess, kind of like a dad getting a new power tool for Christmas, I was looking for something to try using my new toy on. 

Toilet TP faceI began to connect imaginary dots in an imaginary web in my imagination. Coupled with my proclivity for grossly overthinking, and a tenacity to prove hypotheses that are completely arbitrary and non sequitur, here is the resulting amalgamation of…  let’s call them “findings.”

The first totally relevant thought I processed on the situation was: “Why?” Think of the mental gymnastics needed to use butt cleaner while holding it. That’s like using spilt milk to wet the mop you’d use to clean that spilt milk. When the toilet paper is on the roller, it unravels for you, so you don’t need to hold it. I mean, physics is involved, but it’s not rocket science. When you’re holding the crap tokens in your hand, you are contaminating the product with the same hands you’re currently putting up your own butt. Thus, holding the roll is not pragmatic.  

It’s already pretty selfish to squat-and-go if you were the last one using the toilet. But leaving the roll there without putting it on the dispenser is the stuff the step-parents do in a Brothers Grimm fairy tale. And I am fully aware of the defenses, like, “What if you were in a hurry?” or “If it’s so simple, why not just do it yourself?” To which I respond: stop being the bad guy from a Grimm fairy tale. You weren’t in such a hurry that you chose to stop mid-poop and just run out of the restroom. In fact, you make sure you have a clear schedule for the next few minutes before taking a dump. 

Using the logic “It’d take up too much time,” it’s a certainty that you didn’t wash your hands, either. So now I have that thought in my head.  

Being courteous and kind for people you potentially will never see/meet/know is part of being human.

As for why the next person shouldn’t need to do it themselves is simple: we have certain obligations that are unwritten and unspoken as fellow human beings. These include: chew with your lips closed; don’t fart in elevators; and (shoutout specifically to those in the retail industry) put the item back in its rightful spot and not hidden in the opposite hemisphere.  

So many TP rolls!The common theme here is COURTESY. Being courteous and kind for people you potentially will never see/meet/know is part of being human.  At least it should be. Making tomorrow better by acting nicer today. You know… hippie stuff.

If you were wondering, the real life story ends with me deducing the identity of the culprit and doing literally nothing because I’m actually sane. However, I am most definitely not sane enough to be done with this subject. I had an idea for a comedy article centered on the most un-thought-of ‘material’ to grace itself in position next to the porcelain throne.  

I understand that this is a ridiculous premise; that’s not lost on me. With what’s coming out of my mouth I might want to consider eating some TP. And it deserves not to be thought of so obsessively. Most innocuous-yet-important things shouldn’t be thought of. Like hand soap (coincidentally another thing that, when not replaced in the bathroom, would incite a similar rant).  

TP mountainI believe, unfortunately, that modern times have shown us just how important something as seemingly insignificant as butt towels can be when faced with the uncertainty of a pandemic.  People actually fought over one another and bought TP en masse.  There was a time I was afraid of running short, which made going to the bathroom a brick-pooping experience in so many more ways than one.  

Toilet paper has an almost special place in our society and our households. The least we can do for one another is to make the next visit to the stadium a little easier for the next person.  

There is something that I’d like to put in the spotlight more than anything else I’ve said (and it’s probably a better title): the importance of courtesy. That is pretty important. Of course I’m not just talking about restocking the TP dispenser, no matter how much fun that was.  Courtesy can be applied to every facet of our lives.  

You’re not agreeing with anyone’s philosophy… You are simply making it easier for someone else to live their next moment more comfortably. 

Take the extra few steps it takes to the garbage bin the next time you have the option of throwing something in the trash or just tossing it aside. Give someone a warm smile and nod “hello” to them when you see them walking down the street. If there is someone struggling to put something in their car, ask if they need help. Hold the door open for the people behind you walking in.  

Each one of these examples takes literal seconds to perform, but can leave a lasting impact on the day for those affected by it. You may leave a long lasting impression, for that matter. You’re not agreeing with anyone’s philosophy, or becoming an ordained saint. You are simply making it easier for someone else to live their next moment more comfortably.  

Thanks for sticking around for the poops and giggles.  

What simple courtesy do you want to see more often in the people around you? Share your ideas and experiences in the comments!



  1. PJ

    Nice article. It reminds me of the Shopping Cart Theory that is supposed to determine if someone is a good person or a bad person. I admit, we have this toilet paper argument in my house. If you don’t put a role back on the holder, my wife will come after you. So what is it? If you don’t replace the role, are you a bad person? Or just Lazy?

    • Luis Reza

      That’s interesting. I never thought of it in that context. I don’t necessarily believe an individual is “bad” for not being considerate, but I suppose the more appropriate term for laziness at the expense of others would be “selfish”. I say at others expense because you aren’t the only one using the restroom. That’s what prompted this whole article. If you’re lazy at your own expense, no harm no foul. With the exception of not being able to blame anyone else when there’s not a new roll when you go to the restroom. HAHA

  2. Amelia Brown

    I love this Luis! Such an interesting way of thinking about such a random item! Can’t wait to see more!🙈

    • Jen Miller

      I feel this HARD. Just this week at work, someone did the thing where they put the new roll on top of the empty roll. It was actually empty, but they didn’t bother to throw the empty roll away and attach the new one to the holder. It drives me absolutely insane. Albeit, our roll holder is terrible and a big pain to change, but I still do it if I use the rest of the roll. Another thing that has happened at my last two workplaces was when the hand soap runs out, they add water to the bottle. Newsflash everyone, adding water to soap does not make more soap. It makes soapy water you can’t wash your hands properly with. Le sigh…

  3. Stephanie Watson

    This article is so fun! I have had a similar contemplation about people who will go through many rolls of toilet paper while an empty roll sits on the dispenser. It’s like, “Why have a dispenser, then? Maybe this person just needs a little shelf for the roll, instead.”

  4. Shana

    Well done Luis!! By the way the courtesy I would like to see holding doors open having wheels and opening doors is not easy.

    • Jen Miller

      I always always hold the door open if someone is coming that is in a wheelchair. I can’t imagine what a pain that must be to deal with.

  5. Candace Bissonette

    This article was such a fun ride to bring attention to some great points! I think it would be great if people developed self awareness as to how their actions are affecting others around them. If more people thought through their current course of action and how that would butterfly effect into other people’s lives the world would be a better place. Pop your bubble and help one another out.

  6. Brandy Brown

    I like Candace’s comment and she brought up a word that I think is very important. Self-aware. Realize how your actions could affect others around you and step down off your high horse. The world does not revolve around you. Well done article Luis. I love when I have to think and not just read (only mild sarcasm). I kid I kid. Really well done!!!!

  7. Michelle Holstine

    Leave it to your genius brain to turn TP into a philosophical article about courtesy…and it WORKS!! Well done, great article, and awesome points. You are so right. Thanks for the insight!

  8. Andrew Lucy

    Loved the article Louie! It reminds me to try and do one good deed everyday. Keep it up bud! Can’t wait to see what else you got!

  9. Luis Reza

    Hey everyone! Thank you so much for the kind words and wonderful support. I’m sorry it took so long to respond but I was having difficulty with my profile and work has been relentless since the start of January. Know that I love you all and look forward to continuing putting out the best content I can for you. Take care!

  10. Ashkan A.

    Reading this again because I realize I’m out of toilet paper again


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