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01/12/2004: "Why I'm Right"

NFT Feature|AMP|#160;|AMP|#160;My best friend is my biggest asset when it comes to writing Not From Toronto. Not only does he read it each and every week, he gives me feedback all the time. I'll admit that for the longest time I didn't take any of his advice. I've slowly been coming around to some of his suggestions, which has hopefully resulted in better writing and a more enjoyable literary experience. One comment he made many moons ago was that some of my articles had such a definite and authoritative tone to them that no debate on the subject was henceforth necessary, or indeed seemingly welcomed. This isn't normally what I want; both feedback and debate are appreciated and enjoyable. Right now, however, I'm reversing my stance. I'm going to tell you why I'm right.

Ordinarily I'm not so bold. I know that my knowledge, although broad, is hardly perfect, complete, or even entirely correct. If you know something that I don't, I'd be quite happy to sit, listen, and learn. Nonetheless, for the topics at hand today, there is no doubt in my mind that I am entirely correct. Some out there already know these Truths as I do, and I applaud them. Inexplicably, there are still some that not only do not know what is right, they routinely practice the exact opposite and insist it's the only way to do things. Baffling, to be sure. So, what is it that has my knickers in a knot? What has turned a customarily mild man into a righteous zealot? Toilet paper rolls and cutlery in the dishwasher. Let the Inquisition begin!

The lesser of the issues is the one of cutlery in the dishwasher. I've included it in here due to a mild confrontation over the Christmas holidays. During a large gathering at my parent's place I was loading their dishwasher to get a load of plates and forks clean. While loading the forks a family friend came up to me, saw how I was loading the forks, and congratulated me on loading them "correctly", tines down. I'm not sure why I was loading the forks tines down, as at home I generally mix my cutlery orientation. Unlike orienting all cutlery the same way - up or down - mixing allows more cutlery to fit in the same area and better cleaning action due to better spacing.

I proceeded to explain this, at which point he got quite animated and demonstrated what happens when a fork is loaded head up; when unloading, you grab the tines, and thus get your fingers all over the clean fork. Well, upon some contemplation his arguments fell a bit flat with me. First, I will maintain that loading the cutlery head down doesn't allow the best cleaning. While the heads may be closer to the spray arm in the dishwasher (depending on your dishwasher's configuration, of course) they are also constrained within the cutlery holder. In my experience and opinion this not only cuts down on how much water can immediately get to the cutlery heads, but with all the heads packed in the bottom food can more easily get stuck between the heads, resulting in anything but clean cutlery. All heads up is somewhat better, but still does not afford the optimal packing that a mixed orientation will provide. As for fingers on clean cutlery - how about washing your hands before hand?

As I mentioned, this is the lesser of the two issues I'm covering today. The much bigger one is but on the cusp of being a Domestic Holy War. I'm sure more than a few relationships have had battles fought over how to hang the toilet paper roll: over or under? A poll I read within the past year showed that of some 9000 respondents, approximately 3600 (40%) hang their toilet paper "over". This is absolutely baffling to me, only because I can't understand how 60% of the population hang their toilet paper the wrong way.

Until only a few years ago I thought it was simply a matter of preference as to how one hangs their roll of toilet paper. It seems like such a small detail, but I've found there are definite disadvantages to hanging your roll "under". To clarify, "under" means that the paper is coming off of the roll at the wall, and to advance the roll one would have to push up on the front face. "Over" means exactly the opposite; the paper is coming off the roll on the front face, spaced away from the wall, and pushing down on the front face of the roll advances it.

This struggle always comes to mind whenever my in-laws and I are visiting one another. Where my toilet paper is always presented in the "over" position, my in-laws unerringly have theirs hanging "under". For a few years there was a little unspoken unease over the situation, but has quietly come to an agreement where the guest bathroom they use is hung "under" when they are visiting, and the bathroom we use while visiting them is hung "over". Before this truce came into effect I had to deal with using paper in the "under" orientation, and came face-to-face with its drawbacks.

There are three drawbacks to paper hung "under"; advancement, visualization, and accessibility. Sometimes the paper sticks to the roll and doesn't freely spool off when turned. In such a case you must turn the roll until you see the end. To advance the roll in the "under" position you must push the front face up, which seems like an awkward and counter-intuitive motion to me. Once you find the end and free it, it swings down out of view once again, hiding underneath the roll. When that end is finally freed and long enough to grab, you have to be able to get your hand between the wall and the paper, which is hanging quite close to the wall. Overall, it's a much less friendly system than being able to easily see, intuitively advance, and reassuringly take hold of the paper, as is the case when the roll is "over".

The only reason I could ever see to hang a roll "under" would be for aesthetic reasons. If you happen to be particularly obtuse about the visual state of your bathroom, you may not wish to have the end of the roll hanging off in the middle of space (where it is easily accessible, both physically and visually). I have no such qualms about the visual presentation of my bathroom tissue, and actually prefer the user-friendly "over" orientation.

Are you convinced? Have I forever changed your ways to match my own? I have a feeling that with such small yet surprisingly important personal issues logic plays no function in choosing which is right and wrong. Humans can be tenacious creatures of habit, and won't change no matter the impetus, arguments, or critical thinking applied to them. Perhaps that's well and good, because it'll be a cold day in hell that I hang a roll "under" for my own use.


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