Match Your Toilet Paper with Your Principles (January 28, 2015)

Last weekend, I reclined against the couch deep in pleasant reverie. Rhett, a gentleman I am newly dating, had stepped away to the restroom while I nursed a buzz influenced by several factors – the champagne glass in my hand and the adrenaline pump of early attraction among others. Though we’re just beginning to get acquainted, Rhett is well aware of my passionate political liberalism, as I am aware of the delight he takes in poking at self-seriousness.

It’s against this backdrop that I was shaken from my stupor by the sound of a booming slow clap, emanating across the short hallway between the bathroom and sofa. I looked up to see burly yet gentle hands moving in front of a faux smug, yet still frustratingly handsome face. The clap was followed by these words:

“Well done lady. You had me fooled. I really believed you were a lefty until I saw this.”

A second later I was totally confused. Rhett brandished an unopened pack of Angel Soft toilet paper in my direction. What on Earth did my political leanings have to do with bathroom tissue? As it turns out, quite a lot.

Very quickly I was made to understand that Angel Soft, a bargain-priced paper, is produced by a company owned by none other than….the Koch Brothers! Yes! Those infamous opportunists of the Supreme Court’s ill-conceived Citizen’s United decision, which allows private funds to flow unchecked through our nation’s political process. The demon siblings spent upwards of $290 million of their own personal fortune in a failed 2012 attempt to get Mittens Romney into the Oval Office. The fact that they belly flopped doesn’t make many angry democracy lovers despise them less.

Before Rhett teased me into enlightenment however, I went through all seven stages of grief in instantaneous succession:

1.Shock & Denial –“Stop! You’re kidding me. It can’t be true!”

2.Pain & Guilt – “Have I been unwittingly supporting an evil empire just to save a few pennies?!”

3.Anger & Bargaining – “I suck! I’ve been buying Angel Soft for four years. Four years I say! I don’t really believe in you Jesus, but I might start if you can make this go away. What do you say?”

4.Depression, Reflection & Loneliness – “It’s no use. No one can save me. I am officially a failed liberal. PoliticusUSA is going to vote me off the left wing columnist island.”

5.The Upward Turn – “Well hold on a minute. Yes, I have been wiping my bum with the products of interclass warfare for a leap year. But it’s never too late to change course.”

6.Reconstruction & Working Through – “Ok, I’ve been drinking so I will need to use this nefarious TP once more. But then it’s going into the trash never to be seen again.”

7.Acceptance & Hope – “Heigh Ho, Heigh Ho. It’s off to the store I go. Won’t use the can with contraband. Heigh Ho, Heigh Ho, Heigh Ho, Heigh Ho.”

Naturally Rhett wasn’t privy to this 2015, Ally McBeal-style inner monologue. But I believe he grasped that my mind had been working overtime. Because I marched straight over to the coat rack and put on my winter gear. All joking came to a screeching halt. As I adjusted my cap, I looked him dead in the eye and said:

“We have to go right now. In the first place, we’re out of champagne. And in the second, I no longer have any toilet paper. I tossed the Angel Soft.”

Rhett hesitated for a moment and searched my eyes. Apparently satisfied that I would not be deterred, we reviewed the website Boycott Koch before heading out into the night. I had been ignorant once in my consumer packaged good selections, but would not make the mistake a second time. I was relieved to discover that the only purchasing crime committed was in the paper product category. I returned to my apartment (rather ironically, in retrospect) squeezing two packages of Charmin as though my entire identity depended upon them.

I wrote this post for three very different reasons. The first motivation is a public cleansing of sorts. My name is Becky and I am an imperfect citizen. Though I strive to walk the liberal walk (and not just do the talk/write component), this one got by me entirely. I’ve admitted it, bought new bathroom tissue and am now ready to forgive myself.

The second impetus is a self-mocking plea to fellow anti-Kochians: check your medicine cabinets, pantries and refrigerators. These bastards are pretty deep in the consumer products world. Arm yourself with information available at the hyperlink above.

And the third catalyst is to share an observation that occurred to me after the triumphant return to toilet paper respectability. I don’t think Rhett expected I’d seek to redress political wrongs immediately. But once it was clear that’s exactly what I needed to do to be able to look in the mirror again, he offered full physical and psychological support. And there’s nothing shitty (Ha! All the potty jokes! I kill me!) about that.

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