The Great Innovation in Toilet Paper, Or, The Light Green Revolution

Todd VDW asked my opinion on the ads for the “Comfort Wipe,” which promises to be the Snuggie for people with strong stomachs. It’s a product that, essentially, allows you to insert toilet paper (or “tissue”) into… well… what Kramer called “that area,” without getting your hands too close to your own disgusting, unclean body. Have a look.

I guess this is more useful than the Snuggie; at least it has an actual use that can’t be directly duplicated by stuff you have lying around your home. But the ad seems to shatter one of our few remaining social taboos. It’s OK to talk about toilet paper on television, but most toilet paper commercials understandably shy away from talking about where the paper goes, let alone how it goes in. There’s something a little horrifying about a commercial that discusses it in such graphic detail. But maybe that’s just our neo-Puritan morality talking. This commercial could well be the next step in human freedom: the freedom to talk about sticking mail-order products up your… no, sorry, I can’t say it. I haven’t reached that stage of enlightenment.

The big question that several people have posed, and which the commercial fails to answer, is: what happened in the 1880s to revolutionize the use of toilet paper? According to Wikipedia, toilet paper (in the modern sense) was introduced in 1857. So what was the great 1880 leap forward in the ability to insert… no, I still can’t say it.

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