The toilet paper chronicles

I want to tell you about how I first discovered the meaning of the word “love.” Sounds pretty heavy, huh? Stay with me.

Several years ago, some friends and I were traveling through Morocco in a rented Fiat Uno– the car Fred Flintstone might have designed had he been born a few centuries later. All of a sudden, as if a bolt of lightning struck my intestines, I felt rather ill. [Too graphic? Keep reading.] I was at the point where, as most travelers to the “third world” will sympathize, I was in need of a trip to the facilities.

We were driving along, and I made my requirements known: “If we don’t stop somewhere,” I said, “something very bad is going to happen.” That was all my fellow passengers needed to hear.

We soon pulled into some one-horse town– a place that probably wouldn’t have appeared on any map– and I bolted to an open restaurant. Seeing the establishment’s proprietor, I spoke my very best French: “Perdon, où est les toilettes?” Perhaps the man couldn’t speak French, but he could tell by my gingerly gait, and the look on my face, what I was after. “Upstairs,” the man said in Arabic, as he pointed to a nearby stairwell. “Shukran,” (thank you) I said gratefully.

I quickly made my way to the Promised Land, and soon everything was right with the world. Admittedly, the bathroom turned out to be a hole in the ground, but that would meet my needs considering the circumstances. But wait. Apparently this restaurant did not have the same hygienic standards as the nearby Denny’s in my hometown, because there was a roll of very important paper (VIP) missing.

“What the hell am I going to do?” I wondered. Without much elaboration, you can imagine the scenarios that rushed through my head. “What the hell/shit/fuck/ am I going to do?” (Really, pick an expletive– they were probably all used.)

As I am considering this nightmare situation before me, I suddenly hear a knock on the bathroom door. “Aaron,” said my then-girlfriend’s angelic voice. “You might need this.”

I opened the door, and accepted one of the most cherished gifts I will ever receive– a cloud-white roll of the softest toilet paper known to man. “Fiona,” I told her. “You have no idea how much I love you.” She had brought me the roll without a reminder or a prompting. She knew what I needed, and she came through. “That–,” I thought, “that’s true love.”

The moral of the story– besides that insignificant bit of wisdom about the real meaning of love– is to always carry a roll of the white stuff with you. You never know when it might come in handy.