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Toilet Paper Over the Top

Editor’s note:This article was published as part of an April Fool’s Edition of The Concordian

A wise man once said, “If you can’t go under, you must go over.” In matters concerning its toilet paper orientation, Concordia fails time and again to heed this sage advice.

In bathrooms across campus, it is the practice to insert toilet paper rolls with the new sheets dispensed from the bottom of the roll—that is, the roll must turn counterclockwise on its spool to issue its commodity. Clearly, this practice should be changed so that all toilet paper on campus is distributed from the top of the roll.

There are numerous aesthetic reasons for top-of-the-roll dispensing. If the toilet paper is patterned, the pattern will be upside down if the roll is placed with the new sheets coming out from underneath. It is also nearly impossible to fold the first sheet of the toilet paper into a tidy triangle, as maids in hotels do, if the toilet paper is dispensed from under the roll. Of course, if the new sheets are visible on top of the roll, people are more likely to use the toilet paper in general—a practice that should always be encouraged.

There are several practical reasons for top-of-the-roll dispensing as well. If the toilet paper is dispensed from over the roll rather than under, it is less likely to unwind too far, pool on the floor, and get stuck to someone’s shoe. In a home setting, it is also less tempting for naughty pets or toddlers to grab the paper and run with it for the sheer joy of unwinding something.

For those actually utilizing the toilet paper, tearing becomes easier when toilet paper is dispensed from the top of the roll. One must simply pull down or out for a quick, clean separation from the roll; however, if one pulls his toilet paper from under the roll, one must pull both up and out at the same time, increasing the risk of taking too much toilet paper when it refuses to tear.

But perhaps more important than any of these reasons are the health benefits of pulling from the top of the roll. As toilet paper gets stuck under the roll, it becomes more difficult to reach. For older visitors suffering from arthritis, or even for music majors (who need to protect their hands), this poses serious risk: the unnatural angle of the wrist combined with the repetitive motion of toilet paper pulling at each use of the bathroom can cause pain and long-term damage. Pulling from the top of the roll can eliminate this discomfort.

Another health benefit of pulling paper from the top is the sanitation. When paper is dispensed from under the roll, the hand must get much closer to the wall. In addition to risking a painful hand/wall collision, one stands the chance of soiling one’s hand on the doubtlessly bacteria-covered wall and contaminating the toilet paper. If the toilet paper is dispensed from the top of the roll, it’s much easier to ensure that one’s toilet paper remains contamination-free.

Of course, toilet paper that’s rolled under is better than some options. We could have to deal with those industrial, vertically oriented toilet paper holders that stick straight up and hold three or four rolls at once—or worse, no toilet paper holder at all. How barbaric.

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