Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The "1-Ply" Law

First, “to save water,” because the government decided too much of it was literally being flushed down American toilets, low-flush commodes became the law of the land. One result, besides often inadequate waste disposal, was salvaging old “thrones” and a rash of toilet-smuggling from Canada.

Then, “to save energy,” the government decided that incandescent light bulbs must be replaced with compact fluorescents. One result, besides potential mercury poisoning when a compact flourescent breaks, is hoarding of incandescents.

About a year ago, Spokane, Washington, “to reduce water pollution,” banned dishwasher detergent made with phosphates. One result, besides dirty and germ-ridden dishes, has been an exodus to neighboring Idaho to purchase detergent that works.

Now, not content to interfere with our flushing, seeing, and dishwashing, there has been a leak out of Congress that it’s about to pass the “1-Ply” law.

There are two kinds of “bathroom tissue,” better known as “toilet paper”: 1-ply and 2-ply. As their names suggest, the former consists of one thin sheet, the latter two thin sheets (which obviously doubles the efficacy of the product.)

Apparently, “to save the environment” by preventing the felling of too many trees, which suck carbon dioxide and expel oxygen, beginning in 2010 Charmin and other purveyors of “bathroom tissue” will be forced to sell only 1-ply toilet paper.

While all the consequences of this government intrusion into personal hygiene can’t be foreseen, one is readily apparent: By itself, 1-Ply won’t do the job. And using twice as much will create other problems.

But veterans like me who’ve served in primitive places know what to do. In Korea, where real toilet paper was as scarce as a capable company commander, we used newspapers, especially the Stars and Stripes.

Here in the U. S. of A, there are better choices: the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and the Washington Post among others.

They’ll get the job done.

And think of the satisfaction.