Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Something to consider...

Somewhere, in this great land known as the United States of America, there is a suburban office park. Perhaps it is named Brook Run Grove, perhaps it is named Olde Creek Hills, perhaps it is named River Glen Cove: the name isn’t important. Nor, for that matter are the buildings themselves, which are probably single-story, largely-windowless earth-toned things surrounded by curvy roads and vast parking lots filled, during normal business hours, with newer-model sedans and reasonably-clean sport utility vehicles. These are simply the trifling details that the naked eye can pick up as it hurries past on the frontage road, on the way to the Culver’s or the Dennys or the Perkins. No, what really matters is what goes on inside this building, this utterly unremarkable building.

In there, scientists and engineers work respectable eight hour days trying to create a better kind of toilet paper. Under contract to some behemoth household-item corporation, they are all experts in toilet paper design. They know how soft it can be before it starts to clog pipes, they know how much of it they can squeeze onto a cardboard roll, they know what kinds of perfumes and dyes are least likely to provoke anal allergic reactions. They have formulas and data to back them up. Their mission, for which they are rewarded with a decent middle-class income, is to devise a new kind of toilet paper, one which will surpass all consumer expectations and be capable of carving out a worthy market share. Mind you, they are not charged with creating a radical new toilet paper, one that will force the world to rethink the concept of toilet paper—no, no: leave that to the mad geniuses of the toilet paper trade. To be cliched about it, they see themselves as builders of the better mousetrap, only their mousetrap doesn’t catch mice, it cleans your ass after you take a shit.

If all this is really happening somewhere, my question is this: what do they use as a “test-substance” on their prototype toilet papers? In the name of science and discovery, do they use real human doodies? Or do they have a less-nasty, artificial-substance which serves the same purpose? If they do, I would like it to have some sort of cool name like “Pseudo-Stool” or “Non-feces” or, most preferably, “Scattex”. And, as everyone who has a bad diet knows, human excrement comes in a wide array of textures and consistencies, so this would probably require our humble truth-seekers to have several mixtures of their odorless, thoroughly-un-nasty quasi-dung. These could be, for the sake of argument, known as “Scattex Alpha”, “Scattex Beta”, and “Scattex Too Much Cheese”.

With these tools and their innate intelligence, a team of devoted men and women undergo the sometimes-torturous, sometimes-inspiring process of science. They don’t do it for fame, of course. They don’t really do it for money, either. No, they do it so that one day, perhaps five or ten years down the road, you, the consumer, will have a nicer time of it in the toilet.

Isn’t it time that we offered these anonymous miracle workers our thanks?