• Lisa Alex Gray

What's With the Public Bathroom Toilet Paper Holders?



Illustration by Lisa Alex Gray

Why do public restrooms have toilet paper hangers with rolls that look like caveman wheels?


They’re so large and cumbersome I feel like a contestant on the wheel of fortune trying to spin for money.


I just want to be able to get in and out of the bathroom as quickly and painlessly as possible.


Yet every time I enter I feel like James Bond.


My mission: to decode the toilet paper roll and deploy it before my bladder detonates.



I’ve actually gotten quite good at cracking the toilet paper holder codes.


The last cipher I cracked went something like this…


two quarter turns to the left

one-half turn to the right

one pound with my fist

two curse words under my breath.


...and “Ta-Da!" the vault door opened and I was rewarded with ONE 4-inch square of one -ply toilet paper.


I was so proud of myself I consider leaving the code on the bathroom wall next to the heart with Jamie loves Kevin inside.


The only problem was the toilet paper holders seemed to be working on some kind of revolving cipher.


When I tried to use the same series of moves again, yes, call me extravagant I typically use more than one square of paper, it didn't work.



Usually, in this case, I make the best of the situation and balance myself over the toilet seat using my quadriceps and hamstring muscles to keep from actually touching the seat.


Not only do I keep clear of foreign bacteria, but it helps me get a head start on shaping my thighs for swimsuit season.


However, even if I survive this "Bathroom Ninja Warrior" move, I still have one remaining challenge.


Can I hold this position long enough to air dry, and if not, what do I have in my purse that I can use as toilet paper?


Which is why I never have any deposit slips left in my checkbook when I need to go to the bank.


#humor #lifelesson #funnystory #personalessay

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©2020 by Lisa Alex Gray