We begin our story at the movies, with me watching Tom Cruise race a motorcycle up a staircase, fly a helicopter into a valley, and scale sheer rock, but then I had to go to the bathroom.
And I couldn't get the toilet paper out of the dispenser.
Nothing stops Tom Cruise, but I'm defeated by toilet paper.
Don't say he's just acting, because he does a lot of his own stunts.
The man has no quit in him.
I, on the other hand, quit all the time.
Except when I need a piece of toilet paper.
The type of toilet paper dispenser I'm talking about holds two rolls of toilet paper and has a curved stainless steel cover, so that when one roll runs out, you slide the cover aside to get the second roll.
It's a great idea for a public bathroom.
Unfortunately, it should come with a blowtorch.
No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't get it open. I tried to wedge the door to the side, banged on it, and clawed it with my fingernails.
But it wouldn't budge.
Meanwhile, I was missing the movie, in which Tom Cruise had only 10 seconds to save the world from a nuclear holocaust.
I sat there on the toilet and actually pretended I had 10 seconds to open the toilet paper dispenser or the world would be destroyed.
10, 9, 8…
You wanna know how my movie ends?
Nice knowing ya.
It's all over for the entire planet.
The globe can't depend on me.
Mankind shouldn't put its fate in my hands.
The bad guys will get the plutonium.
The world will go up in flames.
My mission impossible really is impossible.
And it involves toilet paper.
By the way, we're talking number one, not number two.
I'm not that gross.
Although when I run out of toilet paper at home, I've been known to use the cardboard roll.
Waste not, want not.
Also, it's easier.
Don't tell anybody.
Because that would be gross.
Last month, I tussled with a toilet paper dispenser at a bookstore. I was about to start a book signing and they let me use the employee bathroom, which was completely adorable. Employee bathrooms in bookstores always have cool posters and funny quotes on the wall.
And the reading materials are the best.
The bookstore bathroom had a normal dispenser with a spring-loaded holder for the roll. I used the last of the toilet paper and I wanted to refill the dispenser because I didn't want the employees to think I was a pig.
Like I am at home.
I never refill the dispenser at home, even though I live alone.
And no one visits me except FedEx.
I'm the only person using the bathroom, but when I run out of toilet paper, I don't refill it right away.
Which makes no sense.
Obviously, I will end up refilling the dispenser eventually.
I'm the only one doing anything around here.
The dogs have never pulled their own weight. The cat is useless.
I'll be refilling the dispenser, sooner or later. Yet I prefer later.
I'm a toiler-paper procrastinator.
In fact, rather than replace the empty roll, sometimes I take the fresh roll and rest it on top of the empty holder, like a shelf.
My new roll is in the on-deck circle.
Ready to come up to bat.
On the bubble.
Waiting in the wings.
Call me lazy, but I think of myself as free.
Free to be lazy.
You know when I refill the toilet paper dispenser?
When I damn well please.
Anyway, there I was in the bookstore, trying to prove that I wasn't a pig, but I couldn't get the spring-loaded holder out of the little holes.
Please tell me you can follow these technical terms.
I'm pretty sure that little holes is a term of art in the world of toilet paper.
I looked up the "spring-loaded" online to impress you.
Anyway, there I was in the bookstore bathroom, unable to get the spring-loaded holder unsprung.
I wedged, wiggled, and banged, but no luck.
So I rested the new roll of toilet paper on top of the spring-loaded holder, just like I do at home, and when I left the bathroom, I explained to the nearest employee that I couldn't operate their toilet paper holder.
I realized how dumb I sounded by the sweetly sympathetic look that crossed her young face.
I should have let her think I was a pig.
But for me, that's Mission Impossible.