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9 July 2011 / leggypeggy

One of life’s bits of wisdom

Bet you didn’t know toilet paper is evil. It’s a troublemaker, just like our dogs, Aggie and Chiyo. It looks innocent enough but it can cause all sorts of mayhem.

You don’t believe me?! You say you’ve been taught to chuck that paper in the loo/dunny/toilet and flush it away to the sewerage system of the gods. Let me tell you that you’ll have to change your habits if you travel to Eastern Europe, Africa and much of Asia.

I’d forgotten the don’t-put-toilet-paper-in-the-toilet rule. The first time I learned it was in the 1970s in the Middle East. Over the years, I’ve been reminded of it many times—in Southeast Asia, in Africa and now again in Turkey. We’re staying in a hostel in Istanbul and here’s the sign posted in the loo next to the bar/restaurant.

Instruction sign in Istanbul—don't throw toilet paper in the toilet.

So what’s the problem? The systems just aren’t able to cope with all that paper, or any paper for that matter. It clogs everything up and nobody can flush anything. It’s the worst possible outcome—a toilet that should flush but doesn’t.

But before you get all twitchy about disposing of that paper—whatever it may hide—in the bin, remember that in most places the bins are emptied regularly. So there’s no need to be embarrassed AND there’s even less need to ignore the signs. Or do so at your peril.

Think about it. If the three people who ‘go’ before you all ignore the signs and then you do too, you might just be the one to have your feet literally in the do-do.

Ahem—or should I say Amen.

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