Warning. May not be suitable for persons of a nervous disposition.
Those that know me will understand that I can’t shy away from tackling difficult subjects head-on. It may make me seem brusque, forthright even, but I am always to be relied upon to call a spade a you-know-what, especially if I am using it to beat the bushes round the houses where we live.
With this in mind, I am musing about the idiosyncracies of a product which can be found, in luxuriously quilted form all the way down the quality spectrum to something known as Izal: a name to strike fear into the hearts of stout men and women.
That’s right: it’s the thorny issue of toilet tissue: Bog Roll, Bum Fodder*, Daily Mail –call it what you will
Did you know that the use of toilet paper was apparently first recorded in 6th century China, while specifically manufactured toilet paper began to be mass-produced in the 14th century? I didn’t either, but I didn’t allow it to disturb my reverie, during which I was reminded of the stuff they made us use at school; the aforementioned Izal.
In fact, now I think about it, Izal should have made more of the ‘message to user’ concept. Instead of the ‘Now Please Wash Your Hands’ reminder on every sheet, they could have been much more imaginative and exploited the opportunities for sponsorship. Something like very 50 sheets: ‘This sheet entitles the bearer to sex at dinner time’ (Sex was our shorthand for ‘seconds’ – don’t get excited) Or ‘Rush to your local corner shop where this voucher may be exchanged for ten Benson and Hedges Soveriegn.’
Or perhaps they could have done something in the style of appropriate Love Hearts’ messages ‘Big Boy’ or Squeeze me’ for instance.
At school in lessons, we not only had to ask for permission to go, (fair enough) but then the teacher, Mrs. Haight-Childe would count out in front of the class the number of sheets felt appropriate for the job (so to speak) I remember a lad called Paddy McDaid returning from the toilet, and walking up to the teacher’s desk and putting down ten sheets of Izal, for all the world like some Kansas City high roller laying down 10Gs at the card table and saying:
‘It’s OK Miss. I only farted.’
(*Fodder bum of course. I attended the same Upper School my Dad taught at. Although our paths rarely crossed he did cover one of our Geography lessons. We were doing some tosh about types of farming. At one point my mate Huggis put his hand up and with a frown said ‘Sir, what’s fodder?’ Without batting an eye my Dad said ‘Fodder Cows’)