Tag Archives: April 1st

Reaching the end of the roll

By Bruce Stambaugh

If I ever wrote an autobiography, I know what the title would be. I’d call the masterpiece, “The End of the Roll.”

I know this is a family blog. But I just can’t take it anymore. Please make sure your children aren’t anywhere nearby when you read this.

I have been seeking the answer to this important question for most of my adult life. Why can’t men change empty toilet paper rolls?

great egret in flght

No end of the roll for this bird.

I’m serious. If I had a dollar for every roll of toilet paper I have had to put on the holder, I’d be a millionaire. I realize most humbly what that says about my digestive system.

Nevertheless, I’m willing to come out of the stall once and for all and say it like it is. Men have to be helpless if they can’t change a roll of toilet paper.

Of course, never having been a regular in the women’s room, I can’t really know if the same is true on the skirted side of restrooms. I’ve privately asked my wife this touchy question, but she just stares at me in prolonged silence.

I’ll just assume empty toilet paper rolls in female water closets are not a problem. If I’m wrong, I’m sure I’ll hear about it.

But let’s get back to the issue, or should I say tissue, at hand. Is it so difficult a task that men can’t figure out how to take an empty cardboard roll off its holder and replace it with a new roll of TP?

Now I know not all toilet paper rolls are created equal. Shoot. Some TP doesn’t even come on a roll. Some “holders” dispense all too tiny pieces of thin paper that are, well to be truthful, less than adequate for the job, please excuse the pun.

I will say, though, that as long as the supply lasts, they have to be better than those European bidet units. The last thing I need is to be hosed down while reclining in a compromised position. And please don’t try to imagine that either.

But, again, I digress.

I mean how difficult is it to change a roll of toilet paper? These are the same men who rebuild diesel engines, send rockets to Mars, build an entire barn in a day, approve multi-million dollar budgets in the twinkling of an eye, and climb sheer mountain cliffs with no ropes or safety harnesses.

Yet these same masculine minions are so inept that they can’t even unlatch an empty toilet paper tube from its holder, discard the spent roll, unwrap a fresh roll of toilet paper, slide it into place, and secure the holder. It absolutely makes no sense.

Can you tell this is important to me? I mean I can’t be the only thoughtful, regulated man on earth. But then again, maybe I am, given the number of times I’ve had to install a new roll of TP.

dog on beach

No end of the roll for this dog either.

This male ineptitude seems to be universal. It doesn’t matter where the bathrooms are, church, businesses, rest areas, restaurants, even private homes. I’ve replaced roll after roll wherever I go.

Maybe I’m just too old-fashioned. Replacing empty toilet paper rolls with full ones just happens to be one of those important values instilled by my loving parents.

My parents set the tone. If we borrowed something from someone, my brothers and sisters and I were taught to return it in better shape than we got it. If we used someone’s car, we filled up the gas tank before we returned it. Of course, gasoline was 33 cents a gallon then, too.

Maybe that’s the problem. I’m an old guy with old-fashioned values. Replacing empty toilet paper rolls with full ones just happens to be one of those important values instilled by my loving parents. I’m sure they would be most proud of my TP obsession.

So men, please think about this the next time you reach the end of a roll. That’s especially true if it happens to be on April Fools Day.

© Bruce Stambaugh 2017

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So many questions, so few answers

By Bruce Stambaugh

Some time ago I listed several questions over a wide range of topics that I had accumulated. Most of my musings were unanswerable.

Well, since I’m an inquisitive fellow by nature, I’ve done it again. My inquiring mind wants to know, and I thought April Fools Day might be a good time to ask. Should we let the questions begin?

northcoastbybrucestambaugh

The North Coast of Ohio is really the south shore of Lake Erie.

Why is the south shore of Lake Erie called the North Coast in Ohio?

Why do people feel compelled to yell “In the hole!” after a pro golfer hits a shot?

Are there East of Chicago pizza places west of Chicago?

Why do fans in line with the TV camera at baseball games wave and wave and wave once they realize they are on TV?

easterfullmoonbybrucestambaughBeside the letter “r,” what’s the difference between the word “wiggle” and “wriggle?”

If lights attract moths, why don’t these nocturnal winged insects come out in the daytime?

Do they serve Cuban sandwiches in Cuba?

What kind of wine goes with honey barbequed potato chips?

Why are the natives of the Philippine Islands called Filipinos and not Philipinos?

Why is it that when a teacher says the test will be simple, it will always be hard?

someassemblyrequiredbybrucestambaugh

Some assembly required.

Why is it that when directions say, “Some assembly required,” it usually is a lot?

Did you know there is a right way and a wrong way to hang a roll of toilet paper?

Do you know which is the right way to hang a roll of toilet paper?

Did you know that Easter always falls on the Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox?

Did you know the emergency number in Australia, the country down under, is 119?

If tornadoes in the northern hemisphere spin counter-clockwise, and tornadoes in the southern hemisphere spin clockwise, which direction would a tornado on the Equator spin?

Did you know that in Ohio it’s a law that motorized vehicles have to have their headlights on if their windshield wipers are operating?

How do bullfrogs know when the air is warm enough for insects to fly in early spring?

Did you know that the only direction you can travel from the North Pole is south?

When you sneeze, why do people say, “God bless you?”

hotdogsbybrucestambaugh

You won’t find these hot dogs at McDonald’s or any other fast food restaurant for that matter.

Have you ever tried to order a hotdog at McDonalds?

Where did the idea of the Easter Bunny originate?

Is Allstate Insurance really available in all states?

Have you ever wondered who your doctor’s doctor is?

Why is baseball the only professional sport where the manager and coaches have to wear uniforms like the players?

Why is it when you are following a slow moving vehicle in a no passing zone, you don’t pass any oncoming cars, but as soon as it is all right to pass you can’t because there is oncoming traffic?

What is the difference between a day being “partly sunny” or “party cloudy?”

partlysunnybybrucestambaugh

Partly sunny or partly cloudy?

Why do emergency vehicles proclaim “Dial 911” when we no longer have rotary phones?

Why do we still say we’ll carbon copy an email, for example, when we no longer use carbon paper?

Do they serve French toast in France?

americanrobinbybrucestambaugh

In good weather or foul, American Robins still have orange breasts.

Why do people refer to the red, red Robin when the American Robin’s breast is orange?

Why do donuts have holes in the first place?

Why does it seem colder at 27 degrees in April than it does when it’s 27 degrees in January?

Why do we celebrate April Fools Day anyhow?

© Bruce Stambaugh 2013

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It’s no joke: April 1 used to be New Year’s Day

By Bruce Stambaugh

If there was one day I dreaded each school year of my three decades in education, it was April 1st, better known as April Fools Day.

The students, and even a few of the teachers, were merciless with their inane April Fools jokes. I was relieved if April 1st happened to fall on a weekend.

But five times out of seven, it did not. As teacher then principal, I was forced to endure the school-wide silliness. I gave a little more slack to the younger children who dared approach the principal to try to trick him. I did my best to play along.

I remember fondly their coy smiles with their giddy calls of “your shoe’s untied.” I always took the bait, waited for the giggles and moved on down the hall until the next juvenile ambush.

It was harder for me to tolerate the older students who tried unsuccessfully to be more sophisticated with their trickery. I didn’t have much patience with students who released the distracted teacher’s pet garter snake in the room or for those who put tacks on teachers’ seats.

I wondered who in the world ever invented such a silly day. After all these years, I decided to quit wondering and investigate.

My do diligence was a thorough if not speedy search on Google. The results didn’t really lead to any definite conclusions, other than to surmise that the antics of the crazy day likely got started way back when the Gregorian calendar was introduced. This major change, which had to make health care reform seem simple, revamped the annual calendar in the entire civilized world.

The King of France, Charles IX, instituted the switch in 1564. Foremost was beginning the New Year on January 1st instead of on April 1st. Problem was 16th century communications were not what they are today. Of course, given the state of the current Twittering world, that may have been a good thing.

Word of the calendar change took several months, even years, to make its way around Europe and beyond. Not surprisingly, there were those who resisted the change, and instead preferred to maintain the status quo, which included celebrating a new year beginning March 25 and culminating on April 1. Just imagine New Year’s Eve lasting eight days. Sounds a lot like Mardi Gras to me.

Those who refused to honor January 1 as the beginning of the New Year and instead continued to use the April 1 demarcation became known as April Fools for their obstinacy and resistance to change. As the lore goes, April 1 was dubbed April Fools Day for those who clung to their old ways.

Those poor fools, excuse the pun, who refused to accept the new calendar were sent off on ridiculous errands and were made the butt of practical jokes, like sticking signs on their backs that said “kick me.” It reminded me of those good old school days.

Perhaps because it took so long for the new calendar to be accepted, the practice of nonsense on April 1st became an annual event. The silliness gradually found its way to both the British and French colonies in America.

Apparently traditions, whether good or bad, die hard. Students have been pestering teachers and principals, and probably parents, ever since. With that in mind, you just might want to check your seat today before you sit down.

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