I was recently on another trip to the big city for doctor appointments. On the road as per usual there was need to stop and, well, in Nevada terms, rest at a pit stop along the way. This one, gratefully, had a full-fledged outhouse to, well, rest.
I found as I was resting, a funny sight. On the wall there were two toilet paper holders that each held four rolls of the needed necessity of the rest area, lined up side by side. Very well stocked for being in the middle of nowhere, I must say. Out of the eight rolls, only two were used up and empty. Three others had some used, and the last three were unused. The holders were made of steel — flat pieces of iron of about 1 1/2 inches wide and maybe 3/16 of an inch thick and painted the same off-white color of the walls. Very heavy-duty pieces of steel for the duty they were doing. They were bent at both ends, one end firmly attached to the wall and hinged and the other end butted (excuse the pun) up against another piece, also firmly attached to the wall and drilled with a hole to match a hole in the bar that held the rolls.
Now, here’s what I found oh-so-governmental — heavy on the mental. Through the holes, holding the toilet paper bars to the wall, were two padlocks. Not just your run-of-the-mill padlocks I remember being issued to me for the purpose of protecting my high school locker and all the books and used gum wrappers I could stuff in there. The ones that cost about two bucks. Oh no, these government supplied babies were first-class long-necked Master locks worth about $25 to $30 each. How so govern-“mental.” I couldn’t have been more proud and happy the eight rolls of toilet paper worth probably about four bucks, due to the bidding process to provide governmental outhouses with paper products, were being protected from a toilet paper thief by 50 to 60 bucks worth of padlocks.
To go on, the padlocks weren’t even keyed alike. Which would make too much sense. I mean, if there were 20 outhouses to service by one guy, and each house had two bars to lock and unlock each time, that would be 40 locks and 40 keys. Keys that would take time to go through to get the bars opened and the rolls changed. You can’t make this stuff up.
Kind of makes you wonder just who writes these rules and guidelines, huh?
The whole thing brought back memories of “toilet seat gate” of 1986 when reports surfaced the Pentagon had spent like $640 for toilet seats. Some things just never change, do they? Except, happily, the rolls of toilet paper in that little outhouse we usually stop at, by a guy with a whole slew of keys hooked to his pants, which he needs to hold up with suspenders because of the weight of all those keys!
How interesting I found the whole thing as I drove along after “resting.” Who would take the toilet paper from an outhouse? I mean, they have a car or they wouldn’t be on the road. They must have some cash or they wouldn’t be traveling. It’s not like out in the middle of Nevada, 60 or 70 miles from the nearest town, you’re going to have too many homeless souls to attribute the loss of several rolls of dry, scratchy, not top-of-the-heap toilet paper. So just who would take it? Especially if you’re any kind of nice person who not only thinks of themselves — resting and needing paper — but the poor next guy who will more than likely also need paper, or he would not find him or herself in there “resting.”
I came to the conclusion I really didn’t want to know the type of person who would fill their pantry with outhouse-stolen toilet paper.
I’m not upset about this. I gave up being upset about some of the government silliness long ago. There are just too many to choose from. Don’t you agree?
Trina lives in Eureka, Nevada. Share with her at firstname.lastname@example.org.