The Law of Toilet Paper Supply in Its Simplest Form

Copyright Bil Lepp 2014

“How many rolls of toilet paper should I take up to the bathroom?”  How often have you stood in the basement, or in front of the storage closet, and asked yourself this question?  If you are like me, you believe that you are the only person in the household who ever runs out of toilet paper only to discover that no one has restocked the bathroom supply.

It is bad enough if the roll is already empty when you sit down.  It is not that complicated to replace an empty roll of toilet paper, but discovering that there is not any toilet paper in the bathroom, what-so-ever, is a far greater crisis than coming to the end of the roll. Thus, you find yourself in the basement performing mental algorithms to deduce how many rolls of toilet paper you should take up to the bathroom.  The obvious answer seems to be, “One more,” because no matter how many you carry up, you know exactly where you are going to be when the roll on the wall runs empty.  It seems logical that if you carry up one more roll than you were planning to carry up in the first place, then when you look under the sink to get a fresh roll, there will be one more…because you yourself carried one more roll up to the bathroom. I contend that that line of reason is faulty.

I believe, counterintuitive as it sounds, that the best policy is to carry up one fewer roll than you were planning.  Hear me out.  We have already established that you are the only person in your household responsible, honest, generous and brave enough to trek the dank and spidery basement to retrieve and replenish the toilet paper supply.  If you carry one more roll upstairs than you will be depleting the supply in the basement that much more quickly.

No matter how many rolls you carry upstairs, it will be you in the bathroom when the upstairs’ supply runs out.  Right?  This is the Law of Toilet Paper Supply in its simplest form.  So, if you carry up one more roll based on the theory that this will save you a trip later, you are completely and utterly misguided.  You will always be making this trip.  It is your destiny. You are the Great and Humble Resupplier of Toilet Paper, ordained by God, forever and ever, Amen.  So, if you carry one more roll up the stairs you are hastening the day when you will go downstairs only to discover that the toilet paper reservoir in the basement has run dry.  What then? If you make a practice of carrying up one fewer roll you will be making more trips to the basement, but since you are the only person in the house who knows that that is where the toilet paper comes from, you are assured that there will always be one more roll waiting for you. The answer is simple.  Carry up one fewer roll.

The real question, however, is- Where does all that toilet paper in the basement come from?  What angel or lovely little fairy is charged with keeping that repository stocked?  And how do they know when it is running empty?

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