Brad Messer Commentary
Wednesday, June 25, 2003

Toilet Paper

In some of the world's restrooms, you tip for toilet paper. Sometimes you get your money's worth. Sometimes you don't.

Toni Cacace-Beshears went on a shoestring trip to Europe after highschool graduation. In the Vatican, she gave a tip and was handed a large square of paper. Quite soft. A raised, quilted pattern that looked familiar. It wasn't toilet paper per se: it was a Scott napkin.

She kept it as a Vatican souvenir. At a castle in Sweden the toilet paper was so bad it was a close cousin of wax paper. Then she saved toilet tissue from a boat, a youth hostel, public bathrooms— and it was all so different.

Toni had next to no money. She realized that she could afford a hobby she'd never heard of: toilet paper collecting.

Paper with Christmas decorations, butterflies, the Amtrak logo, Disneyland and on and on. And paper that friends started sending during their travels.

The Virginian-Pilot newspaper, where I got the story, reports that today she has three, three-ring binders full of toilet paper samples.

I take it as a demonstration that creativity and originality can produce some of life's memorable pleasures, and cost almost nothing.

Toni's collection now turns out to be worth something, but she's not selling. She says maybe it'll pay for her psychiatry when she gets older.

Brad Messer, commentary, KTSA.


Richmond Times-Dispatch 6/24/2003
Toilet paper from around the world - Her collection fills 3 volumes

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