Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Paper Parade

Her Majesty, The Queen, is celebrating sixty years on the throne.
I’ve been watching some of her Diamond Jubilee on TV.  Aren’t they jumping the gun a little?  We make people wait seventy-five years before we proclaim their perseverance to be worthy of diamonds.  Then again, the English are flashier than we are.
One news anchor remarked, “The Brits sure know how to throw a party.”  And it looked like a theme party, too!  The parade route was decorated with hundreds of colorfully dressed women in oversized hats that wore them, and elaborate soldiers whose wooly mammoth headpieces could be a problem if the paths go under any low lying bridges. 
But the style of the Queen is flawless. She is dignified.  Stately. Classy.  Though she has advisors, she always knows exactly what is appropriate to wear for any event.  And her fashion gurus certainly do think ahead.  The hems of all her skirts and dresses are weighted so that no defiant gust of wind can ever reveal a royal rear end.  Brilliant. 

“We don’t want to see a flash of royal underwear,” a designer remarked.  Always covering their bases, those Brits.
The more they talked about the Queen, her sense of humor and her sense of modesty, the more I realized how true to my English roots I am.  I’m conservative.  Funny.  Loyal.  Bossy.  I like fish and chips.  I carry a purse.  I look good in hats.
But it was those weighted hems that snapped me back to reality.  That’s OCD taken to a whole new level. And even though I wear pants in public so I don’t have to worry about wayward breezes, I’ll still never be cautious enough to qualify for royalty. 
I have TPS—Toilet Paper Syndrome.
The memory of the day I was diagnosed still haunts me.  It was the end of a tiring road trip, four thousand miles long.  Three weeks away from home, we only had another two hours before returning to the comfort of our own beds again.  One potty break away from non-public toilets.  And one grocery store stop before dinner at home.
We made our pit stop, rolled on into the Valley, and parked at the local Safeway.  I grabbed a cart, headed first  for the dairy section at the rear of the store, and loaded up with bread and other necessities as I made my way back to the checkout counters.
Suddenly, an older woman appeared out of nowhere and threw an arm around my shoulders, like she was reuniting with an old friend.  Surprised, I looked into her eyes and tried to place her face.  Did I know her from church? Or the fire department? Was she a long lost great-aunt?  No, I was sure we’d never met. I couldn’t figure it out. 
She leaned in to tell me something in confidence while I tried to determine if I was being kidnapped or arrested.  Confusion written all over my face, I felt myself flush every shade of red as reality dawned and she whispered in my ear,
“Honey, there’s a piece of toilet paper hanging down from the back of your shorts.”
Something like this would never happen to a Royal.  They may wear birdhouses on their heads, but fluttery Charmin tails will never be in vogue.  
Don't worry. I'm coping with my disorder.  I know I'll never be the belle of the ball, but I'm happy to wait on the sidelines while the parade passes by.  You won't have any trouble spotting me, though. 

I'll be the one with the streamers.


  1. Okay - reading your blog while an infant naps 12 inches away was a dangerous decision; I sit here trying desperately not to laugh too loud. TPS or no, you are a very classy lady.

    1. Oh, thank you, Mrs. H! And give that darling baby a little kiss from me!!