Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Best in Show

You are in the presence of greatness.

I’m not sure when the awards ceremony is, but you can be sure I’ll send you an RSVP.

That’s right; Brett and I are a shoo-in to win “World’s Most Stupid and Pointless Argument” in the Married People division.

I think what really put us over the top is the passion and dedication we used in arguing our respective sides of said argument.

What prompted this award-winning argument? I’ll tell you.

Toilet paper.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. “They must have argued over whether the toilet paper dispenses from the top or the bottom.”

That is strictly an amateur argument.

I remind you, after 8 years, Brett and I are professionals. (And, of course, everyone knows toilet paper should be dispensed from the TOP.)

The next assumption is that the argument might be about whether “someone” forgot to replace the roll after using all the toilet paper.

And by “someone,” I mean Brett.

Alas, although that is an all too common happenstance in our home, it was not what prompted this particular argument.

Shall I “set the scene” for you?

Since Brett has been unemployed, we’ve had to conserve our pennies. Taking advice from Gary, Mom’s husband and former penny-pincher, we’ve started to buy things only when we run out of them.

So far, this plan has worked well. It serves to make us conscious of what our needs really are, and prompts us to use up any excess before we buy new supplies.

Anyway, we had both noticed we were running low on toilet paper. Well, you know how things go, and we just got too busy and neither of us thought to go out and buy some more.

Finally, the inevitable happened. I was downstairs when I heard my husband yelp from the upstairs bathroom.

“We’re out of toilet paper,” he bellowed at me from his indelicate position.

“Wait, wait!” I yelled back up at him as I frantically searched for a spare roll. My efforts were finally rewarded when I found a roll in the downstairs bathroom closet.

I rushed upstairs to my husband’s aid. Jubilantly, I presented him with the roll.

“Now, there’s about 2/3 left on that roll, so use it sparingly until we can go to Wal-Mart,” I cautioned him.

My husband was extremely grateful and happy, if the speed with which he snatched the roll from my hand said anything.

After work that day (just me, of course), we managed to eke out the energy to go to Wal-Mart.

I readied our list, putting toilet paper as our headliner, adding in a few other odds and ends. I headed upstairs to tell Brett I was just about ready to go.

He was puttering around in the bathroom, as I said, “We’re just about ready to go. Let me just use the bathroom, and we can go.”

(I can just SEE the lights going on above everyone’s heads.)

Well, as I stepped into the bathroom, (but before I sat down, thank goodness) you can guess what I saw.

The paper had completely disappeared. The cardboard holder sat there empty, like a lamb shorn from its fluffy whiteness.

I stepped back out of the bathroom. “You used ALL the toilet paper?” I stabbed accusatory glances at my beloved.


“Yeah? Yeah? What exactly am I supposed to use?”

Brett started to reach for the Kleenex box, but one glare from me had him putting his hands in his pockets.

“You knew we only had one roll left. Why would you use ALL of it?” I questioned angrily.

“There was hardly anything on it.” Brett countered.

“It was at least 2/3 of a full roll. How could you use all that paper in only a few hours?” I pointed my finger at him.

(You’ll notice my opening argument here is legitimate. Brett grabs toilet paper like he’s spinning the money wheel on The Price is Right.)

“Look, I had to go, and I used it. What did you expect me to use? My hands?”

(Now, this is a classic “Brett” move. I call it “the-15-year-old” since it is something a moody, uncouth 15 year old might use to argue with his parents.)

“What are you? 15?”

(I often feel the need to point out to him that being crass is not the way to win an argument.)

“Look, I don’t see what the problem is. We’re leaving for Wal-Mart right now. We can get more toilet paper, bring it home, and THEN you can use it…”

(The implied ending line here is not spoken but is clearly, “…and get off my back about it.”)

“The POINT is that I need to go to the bathroom NOW. And the POINT is …what if we weren’t going to Wal-Mart tonight? What if we both were too tired to go to Wal-Mart? You STILL left me NO toilet paper. It is COMMON COURTESY when there is only a little of something, anything, to leave a little bit for your SPOUSE.”

(I’m pretty sure that last line is in the Ten Commandments somewhere.)

(Here, you’ll see my classic move. I call it “the eventual.” I will project a problem farther out and change all the circumstances surrounding it, and then yell at Brett for doing the same thing in completely imagined circumstances. That’s why it’s a classic!)

After that charming little exchange, we both stomped down the stairs. I stomped a little lighter since my bladder was full.

I had no intention of using his “pity” Kleenex for other than its intended purpose, and besides I was standing on principal for wives everywhere.

It’s thankless work being right all the time.

In the bumpy car ride to Wal-Mart, we exchanged mumbled insults under our breath.

“Common courtesy. Raised in a biker bar. Inconsiderate jerk,” were my favored insults.

“Big deal out of nothing. What was I supposed to use? Who does she think she is,” were his.

We were both practically on fire when we got out of the car and marched into Wal-Mart. Our revved-up anger was almost immediately squelched at the sight that greeted us.

The shelves were completely bare in the front of the store. We flagged an associate and learned all the Wal-Mart freezers and refrigerators had gone down. Everything was being moved to the freezers in the back, but nothing in the cases could be sold.

Our argument vanished as we went into survival mode. We searched the remaining shelves and consulted each other on possible dinners without the assistance of our usual freezer-dependence.

When we reached the toilet paper aisle, we exchanged glances. Deciding it was better for our marriage if, just this once, we avoided Gary’s good advice. Brett selected the BIG 48 JUMBO ROLL pack and threw it in the cart.

We made it home in relatively good humor, lightened by our experience and our joint hatred of our dependence on Wal-Mart prices.

Brett settled in to watch TV while I went upstairs to read. About an hour later, my bladder reminded me urgently that I’d never actually used the bathroom.

I raced downstairs and searched frantically through the grocery bags, but I couldn’t find the toilet paper!

I was furious. How could we forget the toilet paper? Was it still sitting at the cashier station at Wal-Mart? Had we managed to drop it in the parking lot?

Disdainfully, I grabbed the Kleenex box and stumbled back up the stairs.

I went into the upstairs bathroom, and you could have knocked me down with a feather! There, sitting proudly on its handle, was a brand new toilet paper roll!

For the first time (in his life, I think) Brett had stealthily snuck upstairs and put all new rolls in all the bathrooms! I was thunderstruck. Our argument had actually produced a positive RESULT!

And really, I think that is what is going to clinch the win for us. Keep your fingers crossed!


Juliet said...

I"m going to tell Gary, I'm going to tell Gary! LOL

You should of phoned me, I probably could have gotten it to you quicker.

Hurray for Brett...he's still learning what pleases my daughter..even if it takes him 8 years.

Alice said...

What is it about toilet paper and toothpaste that brings out the worst in all of us?

Anonymous said...

Your arguments always make me laugh the hardest.... is it because we can relate? Well, our arguments never make me laugh... maybe I should retell them to myself in your style.
I do think there is a healthy side to the occasional argument... frequently I end up learning a lesson instead of teaching one.

Heidi said...

A MAN used 2/3 roll of tp in one day?????
I thought only women used tp.