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A Story I Wrote About the TP Shortage, Just For Fun. Sort Of. (1 Viewer)


Senior HTF Member
May 22, 1999
Real Name
Sorry about the line spacing and lack of indentation...that's what happens with copy/paste sometimes.

The Great Habberbacky Toilet Paper Robbery

Jack and Eunuce and Pharis and Onata woke up on Saturday morning to a most horrifying discovery: there wasn’t a single roll of toilet paper in their house. Not one. Odd, since the night before there had been rolls on the dispensers in both bathrooms, and at least 20 rolls left of a 24-roll package in the storage closet. All gone.
Pharis and Onata, who were brother and sister, 13 and 11 respectively, were simply not used to having no toilet paper. There was always some in the kids’ bathroom upstairs, kept in stock by Eunuce, their mom. Had she neglected them? Was it possible that their own mother had passed over their bathroom during her daily efforts to keep the house clean and well-organized?
That would have been criminally remiss.
But, no, because when they came downstairs to complain, they were told by their parents that all the toilet paper in the whole Habberbacky house had...simply...vanished.
I ‘d rather not tell you what they all used that morning in place of toilet paper, but I will say that it could not be flushed.
A quick and desperate trip to the supermarket found empty shelves where the TP belonged. Not even paper towels or facial tissue! The store cashiers simply had no answers. “I’m sorry, Mr. Habberbacky...when the staff opened the store this morning, all the TP was gone. Not a trace of a break-in or anything!”
Oh, this was not good.
Eunuce was on the phone to friends all over the neighborhood, and she received the very same story from every one of them. A few were weeping on the phone as she tried in vain to wring even a tiny bit of hope from them. Warehouses which had previously stored gargantuan supplies of toilet paper had been similarly stricken with this country-wide vanishing act. And soon, of course, the paper towels and facial tissues everyone had at home would run out. Then what?
On the way home from the store with his family, Jack said, “Well, the government will have a plan to keep us safe. They’ll make sure we all get TP. We just have to buckle down for a day or two.”
And, sure enough, the government was on t.v. all the time now promising a quick fix to this most horrifying dilemma. Dignitaries assured Americans that this would only last for a day or two, and that it had the problem well under control. Later in the week, as news crews videotaped families digging latrines in their backyards in every state, the government insisted that factories were already producing billions of rolls that would be showing up on store shelves momentarily. They appointed people who had many years of experience with National Parks and Arts & Entertainment to head up a new task force in charge of making sure Americans believed this crisis would all soon pass.
The press secretary insisted “We had no way of knowing” this was coming, even though some reporters insisted that TP had been disappearing for months in other countries, and had videos to prove it. It was suggested that everyone who could afford it purchase bidets, which few people seem to have heard of, none among the Habberbacky family. But when Jack and Eunuce checked online to purchase them, they found that all the usual suppliers were already out of them.
The Habberbackys decided to hold a family meeting to discuss this incredibly perilous situation. It was already Week 2. “First, we all have to conserve. We used up the rest of our paper towels and facial tissues a few days ago. Now, I suggest we only “go” when we really really really have to, and then take a shower right away.”
Pharis, with a bit of teenage pride, said, “Uh-Uh. I’m not doing that. I’ll use aluminum foil before I take a shower every time...”
Onata, who had that ‘tween self-consciousness about her at all times, said, “Daddy, you don’t get what it’s like to be a girl. Not having TP is like living in the Neanderthal days. We girls have our dignity. We need to come up with a better solution.”
Jack said, “I think it’s aliens. For some reason, they decided they needed our TP. I mean, what else could it be, with the whole country – maybe the whole world – suddenly without any? No way human beings managed to steal it all overnight, right?”
Eunuce, the family’s true voice of reason, said, “We need to unite.”
“What?” Pharis asked,
“The whole country has to get together on this. We could be without toilet paper forever unless we have solidarity. You know, put all our heads together and figure this out. Obviously the people who manufacture TP are going to be working overtime to get us supplied again. But, if it keeps disappearing, we have to be creative.”
And so, the family meeting pretty much ended with no plan at all.
Meanwhile, newscasts were coming up with all sorts of reasons why this crisis began in the first place. There were conspiracy theories everywhere, ranging from something closely resembling Jack Habberbacky’s aliens idea, to plots assuming a world without TP would be totally compliant to a wannabe dictatorship, to younger generations thinking their parents had hidden all TP away to keep their kids compliant while they secretly had plenty to use for themselves.
People were breaking into stores and peoples’ homes in the belief that someone out there must be hoarding. Others demanded more effective government action be taken or politicians would be mauled in the next elections.
The world economy was on the brink of collapse.
Yet, the government continued to paint a rosy picture. Help would come any second now. Just squeeze those buns for a little longer and we’ll be there, because we are a great and perfect government and we only have you in mind.
State governors began to demand TP for their constituents, calling the government incompetent and even a danger to society. They came up with solutions such as commissioning the production of synthetic TP using the fiber from unneeded N95 face masks and discarded Junior High homework assignments in trash cans everywhere. The economy began to tank. Stock market figures reached low points that hadn’t been seen since 1929. People were holding up convenience stores at gunpoint in the hopes that there might still be some unsold “rolled gold.”
The Habbernacky family, like so many, had shuttered their blinds so that news reporters wouldn’t be encouraged to ask them for interviews. You know, the ones that showed distressed victims of the TP shortage with tears running down their cherubic faces as they sobbed things like, “Oh, my daughter is so miserable she can barely Twitter her friends anymore, because she’s so afraid she’ll have to suddenly run to the backyard and sit on a bucket of water. And my son won’t hang out with his friends because at least one of them will have to excuse himself and make for the edge of the woods. This just can’t continue, or we’ll all be gone as a society!”
But then, suddenly, but very slowly and without apparent reason, TP began to show up on supermarket shelves and on home bathroom dispensers again. It took time, of course. But, most people had found alternate means of survival in those terrible times of peril, ones that required drastic changes in behavior and attitude. The country...and the world...was slowly pulled out of its terrible jeopardy.
And as for the author of this piece, I stood on the sidelines, because I did, of course, make all of this up.
But, then, perhaps I didn’t.
Not entirely.

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