And another thing…..

Toilet rolls. Yes toilet rolls. What is it with toilet rolls? They shouldn’t be a problem should they? A toilet roll is a long strip of occasionally perforated paper wrapped around  some cardboard . I mean it’s not exactly up there with the iPod or Penicillin is it? So why don’t they work properly then?


Oh I hear you say “it’s all about the quality. You must buy quality.” Well yes….and no. Obviously the cheapo one ply roll is not a good idea. Anything that thin near a toilet is a danger to us all. To prevent an unfortunate wiping accident these single gossamer wing tissue sheets must be doubled nay quadrupled to create something more… substantial.

But it doing so you immediately negate the only point of buying one ply toilet roll – it’s dead cheap. Let’s face it, a roll of one ply toilet paper may cost you bugger all but you’re going to get through it faster than a teenage girl on fizzy drinks at a disco.

Now I know about teenage girls because my old school friend asked if his daughter could come to stay with us for the weekend. No problem obviously. But she brought along two girl friends. They got through – or rather I had to pay for – another 6 pack of toilet rolls. In just one weekend. What were they doing with it? Hand washing cars for pocket money?

No, it was all down to what I now call The Oven Glove Technique. In order to complete their ablutions successfully, teenage girls I was told, will wrap yards and yards of toilet paper round and round their hand creating a monster mitt for drying purposes.  Whole rainforests are being wiped out so that teenage girls can wipe! Justin Bieber fans are destroying the planet people!

But I digress. The cheapo one ply roll is an economic contradiction and totally useless so obviously you end up buying the expensive quilted rolls which are soft and deep and beautifully fluted like a Guinness on St Patrick’s Day. Using quilted toilet paper is like wiping your bum with a swan’s neck. Connoisseurs will know that this particular cleansing method is always attributed to Royalty but although not actually proven. But then again all swans are the property of the Queen, so maybe?….who knows? I merely ask the questions.

But it is the efficiency factor of manufacture that bother’s me most – cheap or expensive. Let’s start at the beginning. You open a new pack of loo roll and before you can use it you must liberate the opening few sheets. Amongst all the problems facing humankind on any given day, unpicking one layer of tissue paper should not be a major problem. But it is.

There is a bonded seam holding the roll intact and it needs to be broken. It is meant to tear straight across allowing the first sheets to float free. But it never does! Why not? It’s only a bonded seam after all. It is not welded steel. You should be able to tear away the bonded bit and bingo – you have paper – you can wipe.

But it won’t.  It won’t tear in a straight line at all but skews off sideways right round the roll till it meets up back at the bonded seam again. So now you must pick at it a second time. All that needed to happen was to simply tear across the roll from one side to the other, a distance of what? Five inches? But it won’t will it? It mocks you and your picking finger by shooting off round the roll again.  The bonding process has clearly been too severe at factory level.

The machine has welded so deep that too many layers of loo roll are now glued together resulting in triple ply, quadruple ply – or in worst case scenarios Teenage Girl Oven Glove Dead Rainforest Ply. You end up peeling off sheets of toilet tissue so thick you could carpet the lounge.

And that’s if you’re lucky. More often than not, the opening attempt to tear across the roll never gets to opposite edge at all. Nor does it rip sideways round and round the roll as discussed but it stops an inch short of the opposite edge and then rips round and round the roll. This hapless failure in manufacture results in the swift delivery of three quarter width sheets. The residual inch wide ribbon always staying attached to the roll as you tear, creating an ever thickening tyre of useless paper that is never ever released.

It has to go!  It’s in the way! It must be ripped off in a fury of tissue paper ribbons falling and floating feather like – till your toilet resembles a New York ticker tape reception rather than the banal prologue of a man wanting to wipe his arse.

But the final indignity is when the two ply roll separates into wispy translucent one ply sheets. As we all know, trying to lay them back together again is just pointless and embarrassing. No man or woman can successfully reconstruct a two ply roll while hovering over a toilet. The best you will achieve is a handful of lumpen tissue like someone just sneezed in it. It is an ugly origami  flowering rose of hopelessness. A fitting floral tribute to the failures of toilet roll manufacture throughout the land.

It is time that toilet paper manufacturers faced up to their failures. It is time they did better. We are all socially useful and recycle our waste paper and that waste paper is then recycled into socially useful toilet roll. All we ask is that these toilet rolls are properly made. So – let us start again and get it right. Let us wipe the slate clean so that we can successfully do the same to our bottoms.

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7 Responses to TOILET ROLLS

  1. Jeremy Wheeler says:

    Keep it up, Merv!

  2. Cyn says:

    Could those teenagers possibly be Jules and friends?

  3. John De Little says:

    Oh Merv….. please!!!! Rain forest are not felled for paper…. local crops, cattle, even palm oil. But tissue is made from farmed / FSC soft wood and eucalyptus pulp. Sorry to be pedantic but after 30 years of flogging pulp and paper I feel the need to be just a little bit serious!! John De Little

    • mervyn2360 says:

      Oh dear it would appear that I am guilty of pulp fiction. It was still a good joke though……

      • John De Little says:

        It seems mean taking issue with someone I only know as the manager of the Cyber Pass…. but repeated references to “destroying rainforests” have me shouting at the telly.. in this case you have copped it all!! Loving the 5 GNF episodes…. can almost quote verbatim, …. along with the Parrot Sketch, though its does leave the listener a little perplexed!!!! 🙂

  4. Pete Harris says:

    Keep it up, Merv, you’re on a roll! (I’ll get me coat….)

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