For those of you who are not from Theriault’s Honors English class(es), Mr. Theriault likes to give speeches. Well, talks, really. It’s safe to say that many days we get more than a little off-topic and sometimes find ourselves listening to talks about life problems – no offense or anything, Mr. T; these are important things we’re talking about after all, because it’s not like we’re ever going to use personification and allegory or whatever other literary devices in our future lives, right?
Anyways, I remember, a little while ago, after a student rep meeting, that the class conversation turned to the bathrooms. (I want to defend us high school students, but at the same time, let’s be real – we’re high school students. Our minds are already in the gutter, if not already headed there.) Mr. Theriault started talking about how at a school he used to teach at, the situation in the bathrooms used to be much worse than at Fountain Valley. Apparently, right after a janitor would swap in a fresh new roll of toilet paper, some kid would come in and roll all the toilet paper out and clog the toilet with it or just throw it on the ground. The situation got to the point where toilet paper rolls were no longer put in the bathrooms; rather, they were kept in classrooms. Whenever a student would need to go, they would get however much toilet paper they needed from the teacher and then go to the toilet.
So basically, judging by the amount of toilet paper you took with you, everyone would know what was going down in your digestive system.
After all the giggles subsided (a fair amount coming from myself, I will admit), I got to thinking. That must really, really suck to need to…well, you know, go, and not have the discretion to do so with one’s dignity intact. (Don’t lie. Everyone needs to poop. Listen, if you try to act like you never need to poop, you’re just pretentious. No one is better than anyone else because they claim to never need to poop! If you never have the urge to poop, you need to get that checked out.) Really, though, who does that? By ‘does,’ I mean, decide to walk into a bathroom and steal all the toilet paper.
Toilet paper isn’t gold – it’s not rare or precious. Toilet paper isn’t bubble wrap – it’s not entertaining. I will never understand the mentality of finding it amusing to waste a perfectly good amount of toilet paper (which, by the way, is also wasting the trees / plants / whatever the toilet paper was made from) for no good reason. That’s not funny. That’s not amusing. That’s not even particularly horrifying or awful. That’s just plain weird and immature.
I suppose I’ve been beating around the bush for long enough. What I’m trying to say with this post is that we as a society have certain responsibilities. They’re not necessarily huge, important ones like jumping into burning buildings for your neighbor’s cat or whatever; more along the lines of being considerate and not doing things like trashing bathrooms because, hey, someone might have an emergency and be in need of that roll of toilet paper you just stuffed into the toilet.
(Listen, I find all this toilet business just as amusing as you might be. But I’m really trying to take this seriously, as being considerate to one’s neighbors and generally being a good, or at least inoffensive member of society is a pretty big deal. I wished as much as you surely do that there was a more appropriate analogy aside from the toilet one.)
I’m a big fan of dictating your own life and freedom of choice and all that. I’m a huge believer in doing what makes you happy, even if it’s not exactly what society thinks for oneself is acceptable, or whatever. But what I’m not into is those few irresponsible cretins (yeah, cretins, because that’s the mildest, most school-appropriate word I can find for what I’m trying to say) who muck things up for the rest of us responsible people. That’s not okay. Like, really, really, not okay.
No one expects anyone to be a spectacular life changer. (Unless you do know someone who does expect that, then by which case – well, there are always those few weirdos.) No one expects everyone around them to be walking Mother Teresas and Mahatma Gandhis. Frankly, that is unrealistic, especially for this day and age. But what I believe that everyone can and should expect from their fellow people is simple respect of thought, privacy, and space. Simple, right? Yeah.
(The simplest things are often the hardest to follow through with.)