Paper towel commercials are the bane of my existence. Never once have I walked into a mess like the ones those little bastards on TV make and reacted the way a commercial mom would. When I see a whole bottle of juice spilled on the counter, a muddy dog running through the house or a science project go awry; I don’t smile, put my hands on my hips, give the “you wacky kids” head lean, and then saunter over to where the paper product are kept, happy to soak up whatever liquid is coating the counter. I’m never wearing a sweater set and khaki, pleated pants. My hair is always disheveled and I’m never pleased that my offspring is trashing the kitchen.
When I watch this unrealistic scenario play out in between Dora the Explorer and Spongebob Squarepants my mind always tries to figure out what’s wrong with the women on the commercial. I, without fail, come to one of two plausible conclusions: the bitch is either so medicated and botoxed that she is unable to show emotion or…it ain’t her house. She’s delusional too, 90% of her kitchen is under goop and she grabs ONE paper towel to tackle the mess. Really Bounty? What are you selling here? Is this vignette supposed to sing the praises of the “Quilted, Quicker Picker Upper” or Zoloft and cosmetic surgery? Let’s have a come to Jesus moment, shall we?
My life plays out a bit differently than the commercials. Maybe if I wore a matching sweater set and khaki pants I could circumvent all the madness that occurs under my roof, but I sincerely doubt it. When I walk into a mess a la Bounty commercial, the scene plays out something like this: My hair is in my face and my real-life muddy puppy sticks her nose in my crotch and then jumps on me, leaving two black paw prints across the face of William Shakespeare that is rendered on my t-shirt. Let’s not get too excited, although I do love the Bard, I’m not one of those “rose by any other name” bitches. On my shirt, underneath his face, he is quoted as saying “This shit writes itself”. I look down to see my son, covered in grape juice and wearing a large measuring cup on his head. I make a mental note to stop buying grape juice and hide the measuring cups. I promptly start cursing under my breath as I try to get my son out of the juice soaked clothing and Pyrex hat. I use the dry portion of his clothing to help soak up the juice that has puddled on the floor and send him into the bathroom to remove the sticky substance from his body. The dog helps slurp up half of the mess, the other half she tracks through the house via her filthy paws.
My face turns red and my eyes begin to pop out of my head. I grab a roll of paper towels and start cursing loudly. I briefly contemplate giving the dog to the Jehovah’s Witness who is knocking on my door; but before I can answer, they go away. Perhaps my yelling “God-Damn-Son-of-a-Bitch, what now?” alerts them to the fact that this might not be a great time to spread the good word and give me a religious comic book. I decide cleaning is futile until I can get the dog sequestered. I chase her around the house trying to herd her into the other bathroom. I finally get her locked away and come back to the kitchen to continue wiping up the congealed concoction of fruit products and high fructose corn syrup. I wipe and spray until the floor is no longer sticky, I think I’m done and then I move something on the counter and discover more juice.
As I clean, I detect the notes of sweet, warm, fresh, cozy, and dog in the air. I turn around to see my son holding and an empty roll of toilet paper, with the dog licking his abdomen, from underneath my bath towel. “I thought I told you to get cleaned up,” I mutter. “I did, I put on some smell good stuff and made a tescelwope,” he chirps happily. “Why is the dog wearing my towel?” I ask, but I don’t really want to know the answer. “She was still a wittle wet fwrom the wain, I wet her out of the bathwoom to drwy her off. I do this all the time”. I’m sure you just recoiled in horror as much as I did when I came to the realization I’d been sharing my towel with the dog. But I couldn’t deal with my own issues at the time.
I know when he says tescelwope, he means telescope, which is what he calls the cardboard tube at the end of the toilet paper roll. I remembered putting a fresh roll in the bathroom the day before. We may be full of shit, but we usually don’t go through an entire roll in a 24-hour period. I go into the bathroom, boy and dog in tow, to find that he has sprayed a bottle of Victoria’s Secret body spray on his little frame and shoved an entire roll of Charmin in the toilet. “I took a big poop dump” he explains trying to validate his reasoning, “and I wanted to see the moon,”. Holding the cardboard tube over his left eye, he runs out of the bathroom, just about the time the toilet starts to overflow. The dog walks in the toilet water and begins to track that all over the house. I frantically reach for the plunger, and after a few forceful shoves I get the toilet unclogged. Then I follow the dog tracks to retrieve my towel and use it to soak up the water.
I don’t have to tell you that I never looked at anyone lovingly and put my hands on my hips during this interaction. I went through a roll of paper towels; yeah…one sheet just wasn’t doing the trick. With grape juice in every nook and cranny, I had to give someone a stern talking to about using mommy’s towel. I don’t know why advertisers don’t take a more realistic approach when trying to sell products to real families. They’d sell more products that way…and I bet condom and birth control sales would go through the roof.