Odds and Sods – The Smallest Room Monologues (part two)

If you missed part one of this little monologue and you have even the slightest interest in reading it, it is here.

…Take Benjamin Franklin, was his name Benjamin or was it William?  William Franklin?  Frank?  I don’t know.  One of the brothers anyway, one of the brothers, let’s say Benjamin.  Benjamin Franklin could never have invented electricity unless someone before him had invented the kite.  That being, I think I’m right in saying, that being the Chinese.  Chinese people being, of course, several thousand years ahead of us at that time, in the invention of things like kites… and ancient paper folding… and opium burners…  Things happen in order, don’t they?  You can’t get to C, if nobody’s bothered to invent A and B first…

Except, except that I’ve just thought about the electric toothbrush.  I don’t know why I never thought of it earlier.  The electric toothbrush.  Obviously… obviously an instance where the toothpaste we use now was actually invented for a non-electric toothbrush – a manual toothbrush you might say –  and so, in that way, the toothpaste actually came before the toothbrush we now use to apply it.  And you know, I’m sure, I’m sure that many people still use the conventional, manually-operated toothbrush, as it were, especially when they go away on holiday, or away for a night, I mean, perhaps staying at another persons house, with permission of course… nothing untoward… but, essentially, the toothpaste, having been invented for the manual toothbrush came along before the electric toothbrush ever had its first chance to flick it in your eye and was therefore backwards… the invention was backwards…  It’s a bit like the chicken and egg situation: which came first – the electric kettle or the pot noodle?  The electric toaster or the square-shaped crumpet?  The freeze-chilled, calorie-counted slimmer’s meal or the flip-top bin?  And wouldn’t it be nice if we could un-invent some things: the nuclear bomb, for instance; obscenely loud in-car stereo systems; Piers Morgan…

F.X.           AN ELECTRIC TOOTHBRUSH IS TURNED OFF

…It’s strange actually how much it sounds like, the electric toothbrush, how much it sounds like the hygenic nasal hair remover, because it would explain why I did, on one occasion, having not turned on the bathroom light, so as not to wake my sleeping wife and children, actually manage to apply toothpaste to the end of my nasal clippers and, in fact, severely damage my front teeth whilst attempting to clean them with it.  Also slightly damaging the blade so that it does have a tendency to leave a slight sore patch to the left hand side of my nostril when I use it.  I would imagine, also, that most of us now have an electric razor, to save the inconvenience of shaving with a conventional blade.  I, myself, continue to shave in the traditional manner, with a safety razor, because my electric razor never seems to do anything much but graze my skin, it sort of leaves the stubble where it is whilst removing the top layer of skin around it, so I do, as I say, carry on in the traditional manner, using the cream and the razor blade and, of course, the toilet roll to staunch the bleeding.  That is, of course, when there is a toilet roll actually hanging on the dispenser.  Having a family: my wife, myself and my two children, I tend to find that mostly, when I’m… not always, but mostly… when I’m in need of using the toilet roll, that I find there isn’t actually anything there.  This tends to happen at a fairly… inconvenient time… and when it does, generally I have to call upon someone to fetch one for me or, if there’s no-one else at home, I shuffle along to the cupboard where they are kept.  I obviously understand the inconvenience it causes, finding oneself in this situation, so I always endeavour to then put the roll onto the dispenser.  For easy use of the next person and to facilitate them knowing whether or not the toilet roll does need changing immediately they get there.  I like to have the leading edge of the paper hanging to the front of the roll and so, of course, that’s the way I tend to hang it.  My wife, however, prefers to have the leading edge hanging to the rear of the roll and is therefore constantly taking them off after I’ve put them on and turning them around so that they hang to suit her preferences.  Sometimes I wonder, is there, in fact, a correct way of hanging a toilet roll?  Does etiquette, protocol perhaps, dictate that the sheets hang to the front or rear of the toilet roll?  Should there be the merest edge of the front sheet in evidence, or should it hang one or perhaps two full sheets below the roll?  I wouldn’t honestly know where to look for guidance on this, presumably there must be correct form, as it were, for instance in the royal household I’m sure toilet rolls have to be hung in a specific manner.  A sort of Royal Decree perhaps.  Maybe that’s a way I could look into it.  Is there perhaps, in Buckingham Palace, a Master of the Queen’s Toilet Roll.  A sort of toilet roll pursuivant, who ensures that every toilet is, at all times, equipped with a full toilet roll and not just the cardboard tube from the centre, which one is, of course, forced to use, from time to time, in extremis…  I must admit, I’ve never seen such a job advertised.  Perhaps it’s one of those jobs that one can only get by appointment.  Perhaps you cannot apply to be the royal toilet roll changer, you have to be appointed to the job, perhaps being promoted from some more menial task around the palace like… like royal lint remover, perhaps… or the man who disposes of the royal cotton-buds for instance.  Perhaps this task forms only part of the duties of a job with much wider scope.  Perhaps the person responsible for this task is also resposible for ensuring that the royal soap-on-the-rope does in fact stay, as intended, on the rope and not down in the bath where it forms a sort of semi-coagulated mess that blocks the plug-hole.  The same person may well be responsible for placing the little blue block into the lavatory cistern.  And, of course, the very same person could very well be responsible for removing screw-top shower gel bottles from the royal bathroom, putting them instead in the staff showers, for instance, for members of the household who are probably far more manually dextrous than the Queen and Prince Phillip, and replacing them with what I think we have now established are the far more convenient and stylish hook-on-the-rail, flip-top bottles.  By Appointment to The Master of the Queens Own Andrex I shouldn’t wonder…

F.X.           TOILET FLUSHES.

N.B. This piece was written pre-beard when I undertook the daily, painful routine of scraping off my stubble along with the top layer of epidermis.  I have pale skin and have always struggled with shaving.  From the dawn of my facial hair to my mid-fifties I had a beautifully smooth, but sore face.  I now have a permanently grizzled, but comfortable face in which to live. 

10 thoughts on “Odds and Sods – The Smallest Room Monologues (part two)

  1. It wasn’t the facial hair (or lack of) that dated it so much as the blasé way you discuss toilet paper as if it were an everyday mundane item rather than the feted centrepiece of western culture that it clearly is now.

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  2. My experience with electric shavers is the same. Master of the Queen’s Toilet Roll sounds like it should be a real job. Descended, perhaps, from Henry VIII’s “Groom of the Stool.”

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