Fear of Toilet Paper Holders: A Psychological Epidemic?

By Hilary Van Hoose on May 24, 2013

Were you traumatized by a toilet paper holder as a child? You may not be alone. In my house, with about 9 people in it, I estimate that about 6 or 7 of them are afraid of this simple device, which is tasked only with alleviating the need to procure squares of TP with more than one hand.

Over this last winter, my first quarter at a house in the Village for this year, I was so busy that I barely noticed having to put new rolls of toilet paper in the big bathroom about every two days – whether I had used up the roll or not. It didn’t seem all that important. But my curiosity was piqued when I had happened to leave the roll empty over a few days of spring break and saw that it was still empty when I returned. A question came to mind: was I the only one changing the rolls? And, if so, why?

A couple of weeks into spring quarter, silly as it was, I decided to take a semi-scientific approach to this inquiry. The next time I found that a roll had run out, I left it. Three days passed before I put a new roll. “Maybe they’re just too lazy to walk to the supply cupboard,” I thought to myself.

The next time, I placed one of the individually wrapped rolls on the toilet tank. Hours later, someone had unwrapped the roll, but left it on the toilet tank. Still giving them the benefit of the doubt, I assumed they were somehow too lazy to take the empty cardboard roll to the trash or recycling bins. One of the little bathrooms had no toilet paper either, and the other one had a roll sitting on the counter near the sink, dotted with foreboding moist fingerprints.

The third time, I placed the wrapped TP next to the toilet and removed the empty cardboard roll from the holder. The result? The next person to use the bathroom had unwrapped the roll of TP and set it on the bar just inches above the actual toilet paper holder (upside-down, of course).

The close proximity of three TP to its holder on this try seemed to imply that the person made the mental connection between the TP and its holder, and considered taking the leap of putting them together. They had used a doorknob to get into the bathroom, so I found it hard to believe that the mechanics of the holder were too complex for them. And nobody is lazy in that micro-incremental of variations. So, the only possible conclusion one can draw is that my housemates are paralyzed into partial inaction by a deathly fear of toilet paper holders – no doubt brought on as the result of a traumatic TP-holder-related event in their early lives. The piteous individual obviously held the TP near the holder, wrestling with their deep phobia, but gave in and dropped the roll on the bar above in acquiescence.

So, through my pseudo-scientific experiment in psychology, I believe have determined that the young students of UC Santa Cruz are in the clutches of an epidemic of TP-holder-phobia of monumental proportions. CAPS has its work cut out, to be sure.
*Disclaimer: Although this story is quite accurate, the conclusions drawn within it should not be taken seriously. Please note that this article was submitted under the category of “humor” with good reason.

A student, Californian, and renaissance woman; Hilary's most recent experiences include being the official Programs Abroad blogger for UCSC representing France, a reporter for Banana Slug News, an intern at CTV, and an award-winning artist, baker, photographer, and filmmaker at the Monterey County Fair. Much of her early life was spent hiking, kayaking, and exploring with her family. After studying at UCLA for summer, studying abroad in Paris, and graduating from UC Santa Cruz with her B.A. in Film and Digital Media in 2013, Hilary left Uloop and began her first semester in USC's prestigious film & television production MFA program.

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