Lost in Suburbia: Confessions of a toilet paper hoarder
By Tracy Beckerman
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“Mom, why do you have 36 rolls of toilet paper, 12 bars of soap, eight tubes of toothpaste and six jars of hair gel?” asked my son, surveying the contents of my bathroom linen closet.
I followed his gaze to the interior of my closet. Admittedly, it looked less like a suburban linen closet and more like an aisle at Costco.
“I just want to make sure I don’t run out,” I explained.
“In case of what?” he wondered. “A zombie apocalypse? Do you think the zombies will take over the drugstore and you won’t have access to any hair gel? I’m pretty sure they won’t care what your hair looks like when they try to eat you.”
I shrugged helplessly. My son had discovered my secret: I am a toiletry hoarder. I have more moisturizer than you could shake a Q-Tip at. More conditioner than a Kardashian. Enough shaving cream to shear a Yeti.
I had no idea why I felt the need to have an abundance of personal care supplies on hand. I suspected I might have suffered a traumatic toilet paper shortage as a child or possibly found myself at one time in my formative years critically deprived of hair mousse. Regardless of the cause, I was not happy unless I had enough products on hand to floss, brush and wipe a small, unkempt army.
My stockpiling was a relatively new thing. Back when we lived in the city, we didn’t have room to indulge my obsession. But out in the burbs, I could warehouse as much mouthwash as I wanted. I didn’t care if that meant I had less room for things like food and water. At least I knew my breath would always be minty fresh.
Still, I didn’t want my son to think I was a total weirdo. It’s one thing to have a mom who is meticulous about her personal hygiene. It’s quite another to have a mother who is so neurotic she could have her own show on TLC.
“They were having a special on soap,” I assured him. “And it was Toothpaste Triple Coupon day … and Buy-Twelve-Razors-Get-One-Free day.”
He looked at me dubiously.
“Plus, I was the 500th customer so I won enough mouthwash for a year.”
He raised an eyebrow.
“Also I had signed up to be part of the Great Toilet Paper Challenge. Anyone who knew how to change a roll of toilet paper got fifty percent off ten rolls.”
I could see a trace of uncertainty start to appear on his face. He looked at the products in my linen closet and then back at me. I knew I had one last chance to convince him that I was just thrifty, not crazy.
“And did I mention that I guessed the correct number of cotton swabs in a jar and won a lifetime supply of Q-Tips?” I proclaimed.
“Really?” He wondered. “And what about the hair gel?”
“That’s for the zombies.”
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