The Day Society Failed

Civilisation is a delicate thing.  It is held by a single foundation, a lone pediment that if removed, civilisation would crumble to dust like the once great tower of Babylon.

Toilet paper.

Those mile long sheets of flimsy tissue, rolled around one small cardboard roll are what keep us urban dwellers afloat above the depths where our four-legged forefathers roamed.

I do not say this through mere conjecture, nor do I support my theory by baseless assumptions.  This assertion comes through hard-earned experience and eye-witnessed evidence.

It was the week toilet paper ran out in the office.   It was in those dark days that I tasted at first hand the raw survival instinct which surfaced amid the five hundred, usually civil and dignified, fellow employees.  Anarchy descended that week.  Previously untarnished reputations tattered at allegations of robbery and hoarding.

The startling discovery extracted cries of outrage at first.  The hollered news spread through the floors and people reacted with wide eyed scorn.  Then fear settled in.  Terror at being caught in the Johns without that much underestimated commodity at the hour of need.

Someone discovered that napkins would do the trick and a stampede akin to the Gold Rush was launched.  I am no saint and so I admit, with due shame, that I was not untarnished by this trend.  And I hoarded the jagged paper from the kitchen like it was gold.  Napkins are not meant for this delicate task, but we made do.  The need was great and we trudged on with what we could find.

Packets of tissue paper became the currency of the day.  We traded and we threatened.  When none was to be found we tried our best to fight nature – to attempt the impossible for eight long hours.  But many succumbed and the indignity was personally felt and widely known.  Naming and shaming became the new current fear until the white delicate rolls returned and in unison we sighed in relief.  We were saved.  Civilisation was reinstated and previous actions were forced out of our memory like they had never been – necessary for our delicate societal order to survive.

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