Have No Fear, Toilet Paper Is Here!

Are you panicking? According to the media, we are only one step away from being mysteriously infected with Ebola tainted bodily fluids. If not sickened with this hemorrhagic disease, then an ISIS terrorist lurking in our hedges could be the cause of our demise. Yet, if we manage to survive these tragedies, we are still left to grapple with the horrendous U2 album iTunes downloaded on our iPhones.

It’s enough to drive anyone off the deep end. How are you coping? At first, I was a mess. I was losing sleep. I was up all night, pacing the floors (while periodically checking my forehead for a fever and my body for bleeding – the telltale symptoms of Ebola). Every few minutes I would peek out behind my curtains for an ISIS member prowling the neighborhood. Until I had to use the bathroom. Then all my fears and anxieties came to a screeching halt.

The bathroom? You say. Yes. The bathroom. Charmin toilet paper now comes scented. That’s right! This bath tissue smells like chamomile.

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There I was, worrying about coming into contact with the body secretions of an Ebola patient while I’m at the airport when suddenly, I felt so … relaxed! I wasn’t exactly sure what the source of this new found serenity was, until I realized it was coming from my toilet paper! Ebola what? ISIS who? By Charmin simply adding a fragrance to their toilet paper, my life has suddenly become easier. Thank you, Charmin!

The problem is, the scent is so lovely that I don’t want to use it for its intended purpose. Instead, I place the rolls around my home in lieu of potpourri.

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When company arrives, they sniff the air.

“What is that beguiling scent?”

“Oh, that,” I say modestly, “that’s just my chamomile scented toilet paper.”

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“I’m kind of embarrassed,” one friend admitted, “your bath tissue smelled so divine, like … flowers, I just couldn’t bring myself to use it. Do you have anything else?”

“I don’t blame you,” I say, “and you can actually remove that roll and put it right on the shoe rack in my hall closet.”

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Now, my hall closet is infused with the scent of chamomile.

Whenever I feel tense, I now have to whip out a roll of chamomile scented toilet paper and take a nice, long sniff in order to calm myself.

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Ahhhhhh! So what if I’m late for my appointment?

Perfume? Shmerfume! Why would I choose to wear perfume when all I need is one roll of scented toilet paper? I stick a roll in my purse and out the door I go, the aroma of chamomile scented bath tissue trailing behind.

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“Excuse me,” says the woman in the store, “do you know you have toilet paper hanging out of your purse?”

“Oh, yes! And this isn’t just any toilet paper. This is Charmin’s chamomile scented toilet paper.”

“Scented toilet paper? Now they scent toilet paper? When we go and wipe our -“

“But doesn’t it smell lovely?”

“I don’t care what it smells like! Toilet paper isn’t supposed to smell, period. That stuff isn’t for smelling! It’s for wiping!”

And like that, the magic is gone. While driving home, I sniff the roll of Charmin but instead of calm all I hear is the woman’s voice saying, “It’s for wiping!”

That night, I’m back up, pacing the floors, wondering if the CDC will create an Ebola vaccine since two people in our country now have the virus. However, if they do quickly make a vaccine, will the vaccine be safe? Sadly, I am no longer calmed by my toilet paper. I realize Charmin’s chamomile scented toilet tissue is simply toilet paper that smells weird.

**Author’s Note: The toilet paper rolls used in these photographs are not actual Charmin products, nor are they affiliated with Charmin. Any resemblance to Charmin chamomile scented toilet paper is purely coincidental, because why would anyone want to use scented toilet paper??** 

The Typhoid Marys Among Us

Typhoid Mary is still among us. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this disturbing woman, allow me to give you a brief overview: Mary Mallon worked as a cook for wealthy families in the early 1900s. As she went about her cooking business, she was reeking havoc in the form of high fever, slow heartbeat, rash, painful diarrhea, and delirium. Mind you, this was all unintentional. She was an asymptomatic carrier of the bacteria Salmonella typhi. Meaning: she had no symptoms of the contagious disease she was carrying and spreading. There she was, frying up bacon and eggs, but also adding a little dollop of virulent bacteria on the side.

Either denial, obstinance or extreme stupidity kept Typhoid Mary from giving up her career as a cook. She was quarantined several times, only to return to the kitchen upon release. At one point she changed her name to an unoriginal “Mary Brown”, hoping to fool the health department. Subsequently sickening the very people she was feeding gave her away and authorities found her yet again. Eventually she was quarantined against her will until her death. Fifty-one people became infected with typhoid from the food she prepared. Three died.

Typhoid Mary never understood what the problem was. She didn’t feel sick so how on earth could she be making others sick? It completely baffled her. (Remember, this was before webmd or the ability to google “I feel fine but apparently I’m killing others.”)

Mary Mallon could be likened to someone who goes through life creating chaos but walks away untouched. These people are the Typhoid Marys among us.

My first experience with a modern day Typhoid Mary was in college. There was a girl who left campus the same time I did every Tuesday and Thursday. She stood out not only because she was attractive, but because she drove like Mr. Magoo. She drifted into other lanes, causing drivers to slam on their brakes while laying on the horn. She blew through red lights and changed lanes without ever checking her review mirror or glancing over her shoulder. If she hadn’t been such a menace, she was fascinating to watch. I kept telling myself it was only a matter of time before she caused a five car pile-up. But it never happened. While the rest of us were practically plowing into each other to avoid her, she sped off in her own little world.

Another modern day Typhoid Mary was recently at the grocery store. While picking out romaine lettuce, an octogenarian pushing a grocery cart at full speed almost ran me over. Had I not jumped out of the way there would have been a collision. The elderly man blew past me – a flash of high-waisted khaki and plaid- without even so much as a glance. He then careened around the corner and went barreling down the aisle. While he made remarkable speed for someone so hunched over, his gusto for shopping was potentially hazardous for everyone else. Yet he was completely unaware of the havoc he was creating.

Messy children can also be classified as modern day Typhoid Marys. Legos, Barbie parts, Hot Wheels, game pieces, beads. These are all things children “forget” to pick up and we parents have the pleasure of stepping on in the middle of the night. Sometimes the result is nothing more than a hurting foot. Other times our feet go flying in the air and we fall on the floor. Meanwhile, our little children are sound asleep in bed, blissfully unaware that their parents almost killed themselves by stepping on their Thomas the Tank Engine train.

Several historians have labeled Typhoid Mary as the most dangerous woman in American history. Maybe we should consider removing that stigma from her. After all, there is now a vaccine for typhoid. But unfortunately, we can’t vaccinate against bad drivers, aggressive old men who go grocery shopping, or children who don’t pick up their toys.