no, what i'm talking about today is toilet paper. i got a book out of the kids science section about the history and workings of toilets (i love the library and the gems i find there).
here's a picture i took of a page in the book that left me with my mouth in a cringe and my eyebrows in a pinch.
in case you can't read it clearly, let me point out a few pertinent bits. "Ancient Romans used a sponge on the end of a stick to clean up after using the toilet." this seemed all right to me initially. a sponge is soft and wet. okay, the romans had a good idea there other than the fact that they had a room filled with toilet holes all in a U shape so several people could go at once while looking at each other.
but the next line stopped me in my sponge-happy tracks. "When finished, they put the sponge in a pail full of water so that the next person could use it."
great googly moogly..... this is NOT okay! they shared a poop sponge?!! not so bad if you're the first guy with a fresh sponge, but something tells me it didn't get changed too often. and i know how gross a kitchen sponge gets after a few days, so i can only imagine how vile a community hiney sponge would be after a few days on booty duty!
the next line that had me making faces was, "Some used stones, sand, or seashells to scrape themselves clean."
a rock? did they hunt about for the perfect butt scraping rock and then keep it for using over and over? or did they just grab up any ole rock they could reach while squatting and just jam it back there and try to knock off the big bits? would a rounded or jagged rock work more effectively?
and i don't know about you, but when i'm at the beach and get sand in my suit, i pretty much just rip my suit to the side and try to shake, swipe or rinse it out with little regard for who's about because i cannot STAND how it feels! imagine using sand as a wipe! i've heard of using sand to wash dishes in a pinch, but never your crack. Ick!
the worst part in that sentence might be the seashell. i was just at the beach a couple months ago and i collected and examined a lot of different types of shells, so when i read this, i did a mental inventory of the shapes, sizes and textures of various shells, trying to figure out which seemed the most wipe-like for bum scrape-age.
this one seems somewhat manageable, i guess. you could use one side for scooping and the other side for buffing after the scrape was completed.
this book made me very grateful for the lovely and delicate luxury that i've always taken for granted. oh blessed, glorious toilet paper, you are so precious to me. and your cousin, the moist, flushable wipe, is a gift to the behinds of this century. i will never take either of you for granted again. amen.