Friday, September 25, 2015

Letters from the Lab: 'Only One Way to Hang Toilet Paper'

By The Mad Scientist

Over or under? There really should be no debate when it comes to toilet paper orientation. Tonight, however, I will take any debate off the table for good.

For the last two months, I’ve been developing what I call the Toilet Paper Dispenser 2.0, and with this new invention, there will soon be only one way to hang your paper.

To begin with, toilet paper dispensers are valued items in every household or castlehold, used on a daily basis. They come in all shapes and sizes, in varieties of colors; they’re made from different materials -- plastics, metals, skeleton bones; some have lights and some have fancy crafts like live spiders or human eyeballs glued onto them -- for aesthetic purposes, of course.

Most monsters, however, don’t think about their toilet paper dispensers regularly. But I guarantee they’d think about them if they were missing. Aside from the toilet, this trusty piece of hardware is the most important item in a bathroom, and it brings us immense comfort and joy when used properly.

As a mad scientist -- The Mad Scientist, to put it quite bluntly -- I have a way of making things work. I call it my way. I use theories and processes that result in the most fantastic of all inventions. I’ve created Monsters, torture devices, evil potions with horrid side effects -- you name it. That brings me back to the Toilet Paper Dispenser 2.0, the ultimate in toilet paper technology, which I’ll unleash in my place of residence in just a short while.

But first, I must give you the origins story:

It all started one day in the castle after pricking my finger on a lab experiment-gone-totally-and-absurdly-wrong. I took off for the bathroom upstairs to obtain enough toilet paper to collect the drop of blood leaking from my finger, only to discover that the roll was installed incorrectly . . . AGAIN!

Mrs. Mad Scientist just can’t seem to put the roll on correctly. The paper should dispense over the roll, not under. It’s not like we have a cat that’ll unravel all the paper. If hotels make certain that the paper is dispensed over the roll, and if the Good Castlekeeping Institute instructs its students to do it over the roll, well then, we should be doing the same. But let’s go back to the source. Engineer-turned-writer Owen Williams reportedly found the 1891 patent for toilet paper, and the design shows the paper dispensing over the roll. So that’s how it should be.

And yet there are still a multitude of other reasons why the paper should dispense over the roll. For instance, the other day when I reached for a large gathering of soft, squishy toilet paper to stop the blood from dispensing from my finger, I pulled it and, BAM!, the paper broke off before I got the desired length. As you might’ve guessed, that drop of my blood dispensed and hit my beautiful floor. I was livid. I screamed at the top of my lungs, “To the lab I must go!”

I let the blood percolate out of my finger and onto the stone surfaces of my castle as I made my way from the lavatory to my laboratory. I cleared my lab tables of all experiments and got to work on something new . . . Something BIG!

At my drafting table before a giant, empty piece of blueprint paper, I drew up what I’d call the Toilet Paper 2.0. A few hours later, I was ready to run some tests.

I ran upstairs and grabbed our standard toilet paper dispenser. Back down in the lab, I attached two electrically charged alligator clips to the dispenser, and I touched the roller with my bare hand to see if it’d shoot the electrical current through my body. It did. When I got up off the ground, I modified the power source to produce double the electrical jolt.

Then I built a full-scale model bathroom in my lab and installed my fully functioning Toilet Paper 2.0. A month and a half later, it was ready for the final sequence of testing.

I’d installed a slightly modified Arduino microcontroller to the dispenser and mounted an onboard webcam, enhanced with facial-recognition software to identify my wife’s face. Next, I added a live video feed to my desk and I altered the equipment so that my wife’s lovely face, when in view as she reached down to switch the toilet paper, would trip on my video monitor and all circuits as well. If my calculations were correct (spoiler alert: they always are), Mrs. Mad Scientist would install the paper incorrectly, and the Toilet Paper 2.0 would send 50,000 complimentary volts through her body, thus forcing her to install the roll of paper correctly (over, not under) the next time she attempted the task.

I brought in a test robot with a replica of my wife’s face on its head, and the 2.0 passed with flying colors. I still have to rebuild the test robot, but that’s beside the point.

As I write this, I just finished the bathroom refab upstairs. It looks fabulous. I left only one sheet of paper on the toilet paper roll so my wife would be forced to change it out.

And now to see what she does . . .

Here in my lab I wait intently for my spouse to switch out the toilet paper roll. The excitement is so overwhelming I can’t stand it. I’ve only now just realized, with the webcam, I’ll have the joy of seeing her face as the 2.0 sends electricity through her body, lighting her up like the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree.

The live video feed was just tripped. There she is . . .

She’s so sweet, my wife. She just took off the old roll, tossed it onto the floor. So far so good. I should be seeing some sparks here pretty soon . . .

Oh no! She’s putting the roll on correctly. You’ve got to be kidding me. Wait . . .

Whew! She’s changing her mind. She’s flipping the roll. She’s putting it on incorrectly as planned . . .

Here we go . . .


Test Results: Mrs. Mad Scientist blew into a million pieces.

Follow-Up Action: Build another wife, only this time build one that knows how to install toilet paper correctly. 

The Mad Scientist is a mad man with evil on his mind always and plans to take over the world at any given time. He lives in a castle on Lab Lane in the Mad Science District of Transyl-vein-ia.

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