(This article is not for sensitive viewers. You have been warned!)
Managing military logistics is never an easy task. In the Army we used a secret formula to determine the amount of toilet paper that was issued to our soldiers. If you promise not to tell, I’ll let you in on this closely guarded secret.
To confuse the enemy, the secret formula was designed in Afrikaans. (Yes, Sakkie, I know it was the language of the “Oppressors,” but this happened back in the days when we still had an effective and efficient Defence Force – with real soldiers.)
So what was the secret formula? Just this:
“Een rol per hol per week (1r/h/w).”
OK. For those of you who never did military training in Afrikaans, it means: “One roll of toilet paper per soldier per week (1r/s/w).” (Don’t tell anyone.)
In an environment where your brothers-in-arms would never even think of stealing your rifle – but would rob you blind of your supply of “white gold” without batting an eye – toilet paper was a priceless, and much valued, commodity.
(The true meaning of the word “loneliness” is only understood by those who have ended up sitting in a loo, after completing Number 2, without any toilet paper at hand. People generally tend to have much more respect for a bog roll after suffering a bout of “loneliness.”)
Since I’ve retired from the Army, I hardly ever Swear. And I hardly ever Oath anymore. But years ago, during one of my stints on the border, I did both: I Swore an Oath.
I don’t want to go into the undignified, distasteful, details right now. Suffice to say that I Swore an Oath while in a crouched position behind a bush, somewhere in southern Angola – with millions of buzzing Angolan flies – as the only witnesses to my Oath Swearing ceremony:
“Oh, Opening where my Gastrointestinal Tract Ends (OGTE), I solemnly Swear an Oath: If I should get out of this bush alive, and back to civilisation, I shall only use the softest, silkiest, multi-plied, toilet tissue paper on you, forever and ever. As sure as these Angolan flies are my witnesses. By Jove.”
Since the Day of the Swearing of an Oath behind a Bush in Angola (DSOBA), I’ve been on a quest to find the softest, silkiest, multi-plied, toilet tissue paper available on the open market. (Remember: I made a solemn promise to the OGTE.)
So this week, when I saw a new brand of toilet paper on the shelves at Pick ‘n Pay, I immediately scooped a nine-pack into my trolley.
This is what I found:
Name of Product: Private Joy. (I have a bit of a problem with the name. This version of the product seems to have been made for use by Privates. Because of the rank I held while serving in the Army, I should actually be using the “Sergeant Major Joy” version of the product – but they didn’t seem to have it in stock at Pick ‘n Pay.)
Description: Luxury Tissue
Amount: 350 sheets per roll. (I’m not happy with this statement – the actual sheet-count is probably much lower. I very much doubt if you’ll be able to have more than 20 sheets per roll. The tissues are very thin and flimsy. Using one sheet (100mm x 110mm) per sheet, doesn’t seem very practical. Or hygienic.)
Cost: R52.00/pack of 9 rolls. Thus, R5.77/roll or, 1.6c per sheet (of tissue paper). An actual sheet would probably cost in the region of 40 to 50 cents.
Manufactured by: Bakshi & Sons (from the Persian, baksheesh, meaning: certain forms of political corruption and bribery.) It has a certain Guptanian ring to it, don’t you think?
Warning: To avoid danger of suffocation, keep this bag away from babies and children.
This product disappoints on many levels.
Firstly, the Private Joy roll is much too white – like the DA. It needs to have at least 80% black
faces sheets per roll, to make it representative of the demographics. (Or a minimum of 60% black sheets per roll – to ensure that it will play a really sheet game of rugby.)
You’ll have a hard time getting a new roll of your private’s joy started. The sheets, at the start of a new roll, are tightly glued together. Perforations are inconsistent, and vary from sheet to sheet.
The sheets are almost impossible to drown – they persistently float to the top – even after repeated attempts to flush them to Kingdom Come.
This product might satisfy the meager, lowly needs, of Privates. But it certainly does not measure up to the refined taste, standards, norms, and sophisticated comfort, demanded by Sergeant Majors and their OGTE’s.
Lastly, there’s that “Warning” printed on the Private Joy package. As a responsible adult, I shall never expose babies or children, to the danger of suffocation from the plastic wrapping of these substandard toilet rolls.
And neither should you.