toilet paper

Hello Readers,

While I know that some of you at one time or another in your lives had to contend with a difficult financial situation, has it ever gotten to the extreme where you had to count the toilet paper?

Whereas some or most working people tighten their belts and count pennies from payday to payday, I literally count the rolls of toilet paper!!!!

You may laugh, but being a member of the working poor necessitates this drastic measure.

I think my toilet paper phobia extends from my impoverished childhood in rural Mississippi.

On the outside, it may seem jovial to be reared in a household filled to maximum capacity, but trust me, appearances are truly deceiving.

My grandmother’s eight grown children never acquired those wings that allowed them to truly leave the nest.

Therefore, our household which contained three moderate sized bedrooms and one small bathroom was always jumping with at least ten people on occasion.

From taking in her eldest son’s practically orphaned four children (that would be me, my brother, and two older sisters) my grandmother could never say no to her overly grown children who constantly showed up on her doorstep.

Most often they didn’t show up alone.

I remember the steady parade of girlfriends and wives who often shared our very, very humble abode!!!!

My grandparents-elderly, retired, and living on a very small pittance-employed great ingenuity to stretch their meager resources to accommodate their large brood!!!

Compounding matters was the inability or unwillingness of my grandmother’s children to pitch in and ease an almost unimaginable burden.

Readers picture the scene in an overcrowded small wood framed house:

On a school night, two pre-teens (my brother and I) and two budding teenagers (my two older sisters) need to bathe in order to be comfortable on those warm muggy nights where my grandmother-to preserve precious resources-left the window open to keep us semi comfortable in the stultifying heat….

My grandmother (who had a predilection for the welfare of the children she birthed) often allowed her GROWN and UNEMPLOYED children to partake of their hygienic rituals first.

This was usually to the detriment of four under aged children unable to economically and psychologically fend for themselves!!!

Often after the ah-Adults(?) would occupy the bathroom for inordinate amounts of time, there would be hardly any soap and sometimes absolutely no toilet paper left!!!!

When this unfortunate set of circumstances would be bought to my grandmother’s attention, her cruel response would often be:

Wipe your ass with newspaper!!!

While you may laugh, this was quite often the reality.





Uhm Uhm Uhm….

I know right?

Well anyway, this would cause severe friction between my grandparents.

My grandfather -bless his heart-was really our champion (my siblings and I).

He would quite often disparage my grandmother and her character….

The following is really true:

“You would rather buy soap and toilet paper for these grown motherfuckers to wash and wipe their ass than for these children that have to go to school.

Shame, shame, shame!!!!!

But, that’s the way it was.

I remember having my own apartment for the first time as a young adult while I was stationed in New Orleans, LA.

I had a roommate for a while at the time.

Although there were shared responsibilities, I always bought the toilet paper!!!

And on those few occasions such as holidays when even the most accommodating stores would be closed, I always bought double, triple rolls…

I always feared running out!!!!!

In fact, this is a ritual that I still practice.

I know you are thinking bizarre right?

Well, when you have lived an impoverished childhood-economically and spirituality-certain actions and behaviors become ingrained into your personality and dictate some of your actions!!!

Trust me they do.

Well enough of my zany behavior for now.

Until next time….