Monday, August 14, 2006

The Charmin Equation

I've recently marshalled the massive power of my intellect to answer an age-old question that has puzzled the minds of philosophers and mathematicians for thousands of years:

Why do men refuse to put a new roll of toilet paper on the roll when the old one runs out?
Wives, girlfriends, mothers, sisters, daughters, granddaughters, female janitors, lady co-workers and/or bosses, and dates have been struggling to answer this conundrum for as long as we've had toilet paper -- a time period I could look up on the internet, but let's be honest, do you want someone of my breathtaking genius wasting time on a Google search? I think not. So, off we go!

First, let's say that the likelihood of the toilet paper running out while a person is "on the throne" is USC (for "Up Shit Creek", which is what the other USC -- University of Southern California -- was last year when UT kicked their butts for the national championship). Women seem to feel that the actual value of USC is somewhere close to 40%, but for this discussion it doesn't really matter what the actual value is.

There are several important factors affecting the odds that a man will be present at the USC moment.
  1. A woman needs to use toilet paper every single time she uses a restroom, whereas a man needs to use toilet paper only when it's ... let's see, how to phrase this in a family-friendly way ... only when it's time to take the Browns to the Super Bowl. Ahem. So immediately a man's odds of being present at a USC moment is USC/2 (which is being generous, since generally a guy's only needing to "Drop the kids off at the pool" once a day, but usually he's making the trip to the porcelain temple for a good ol' fashioned lizard-draining at least 4-5 times a day).
  2. If the woman stays home while the man is at work, the woman will be exposed to the toilet paper roll much more often than a man. The odds for a man now fall to USC/7.

As you can see, a woman is up to seven times more likely than a man to find herself in a sitation where a roll of toilet paper even needs to be replaced. This does not, of course, excuse the man from taking action should he find himself suddenly bereft of squeezable relief at a key moment, but it does mean he won't find himself there all that often.

"Aha!" many of my female readers will be saying right about now (assuming they made it past the "Taking the Browns to the Super-Bowl" comment), but my husband/lover/boyfriend/concubine/male slave/son/father/plumber/proselytizing Mormon visitor never replaces the roll!

I would reply that this is only partially true, because many women suffer from IIDDIIDC Syndrome, or "If I Didn't Do It, It Doesn't Count". What often happens is, the man does replace the roll, but since the woman was not there to witness it and thus probably didn't even know the roll was getting low, the replacement passes without notice or comment.

Now, I do not mean to argue that every man replaces every roll that needs it on every occasion it is needed -- far from it! I am fully willing to concede that we can, from time to time, be an obnoxious, dirt-blind, funky and lazy gender far more interested in seeing how fast we can unwind a suitable spool of tissue from a new roll stuck on our fingers than on replacing the expended one. However, I do believe that the rate of failure is far, far lower than commonly conceived of in the female universe.

I hope this very mathematical treatise has given you something to think about while you replace the toilet paper on the empty roll next time, ladies.


Denise said...

As the mother of three boys who never, ever replace a roll of toilet paper on the holder (they just leave it on the floor, right next to the "Maxim" magazines), I laughed out loud here, Jeff! Bravo. Browns to the bowl... Ugh and Howling in Laughter, all at the same time!

David M said...

There's a holder for toilet paper rolls?

Laughed out loud at this one, Jeff. Well done!

annie'sbuddie said...

Dang Jeff, you been eatin the donks' sweet oats or what!!!!!!!
This was've obviously put much thought into this matter.

The man in my life is exceptional about replacing TP on the holder, but for the life of him can't put the bottle of liquid dish soap back under the sink.

R. Paul Martin said...

Well argued, sir. Well argued. For your next treatise, I propose something along the lines of the logic behind leaving the toilet seat up.