As we continue adjusting to our new normal, thanks to COVID-19, I mulled over how to properly share what I now refer to as a special kind of crazy. Like some never-ending hurricane prep, I spend my days working from home digesting new challenges like they were a favored chip. Can’t have just one apparently.

With limited space and even less mental acuity at my disposal, I figured it best to hone in on one small concern within the CAT-5 storm this nasty virus seems intent on becoming.

Have you tried to buy some toilet paper? I suspect you have because those who didn’t see the early memo are viewing shelves wiped clean as a baby’s bottom. That my friends is some kind of ripple. Refusing to admit defeat and intent on keeping a calm demeanor, I looked online. Toilet paper was just a click and ship away.

Lured by this siren song, I made my very first online grocery delivery. More on that next week, but I’ll give you the spoiler right up front. No paper was received because while you could click to buy it all day long, there was not a square to spare come delivery day.

“What in the world,” I uttered, as if this refrain had not already been heard about a gazillion times throughout the region. “What are people doing with the toilet paper? If it’s not restocked…”

Well, what if it isn’t? I’m sure you’ve seen all manner of suggested alternatives on Facebook and if you haven’t, take a scroll. It’s worth it for the chuckle alone. It got me thinking of what people did before toilet paper. Some quick research yielded intriguing answers along with fascinating potty paper history.

“Don’t squeeze the Charmin,” we were chastised back in the 1960-1970s. Do you remember? According to the company’s website, it was in 1928 that their fancy-pants toilet paper debuted. Outfitted in pretty wrappers seen as elegant and charming, the name Charmin was christened to the Hoberg Paper Company’s product. Rolling out a 4-pack in the 1930s, it is credited with helping the company weather the Great Depression.

Before this, flat cut sheets of paper were commercially sold in 1857 for our toileting needs. The Gayetty Firm manufactured medicated sheets infused with aloe they called “The Therapeutic Paper,” according to

Yes, this is a real website and it offers abundant information on this formerly unmentionable paper’s history. Apparently, Scott was the first to sell it in a roll. I was aghast to read of the great 1973 toilet paper shortage that may or may not have been spurred in part by Johnny Carson’s monologue. My research also uncovered statements noting the Sears Catalog, received in the postal mail, was used by many outhouse visitors in the days before readily available rolls. Maybe junk mail day won’t be such a negative after all?

In the average home, a typical-sized roll of toilet paper is estimated to last five days. Might you query your stock and count how many weeks’ worth you currently have? If your answer is six months or more, how about leaving a roll for the rest of the folks? After all, paper catalogs are mighty hard to come by nowadays and there isn’t really an app for this.