Jottings: Searching for the Holy Grail
I laughed when I first heard of people stocking up on toilet paper. I laughed until I went to my storage cabinet and found that I was out. Then the search for toilet paper began — trips to three grocery stores and my local Rite Aid, coming up empty. I managed to secure boxes of facial tissue and packages of paper napkins from the dollar store.
Friend Nancy went online and ordered t.p. from Amazon. She heard that Staples had a supply so she ended up spending $171 for 96 rolls. Later one shipment never came and one shipment resulted in mini rolls from China that were one quarter the size of a normal roll.
The search for toilet paper had its humorous side with online posts of bakers fashioning toilet paper shaped cakes, a woman doing floor exercises around toilet paper obstacles and even a cellist performing against a backdrop of toilet paper with one roll affixed to his instrument.
The search for toilet paper is like the search for the Holy Grail, a treasure with amazing powers to bring happiness or abundance. The Grail is considered an "elusive object or goal that is sought after for its great significance" according to Wikipedia. The meaning of the Grail has changed over time — from the drinking vessel used at the Last Supper to a motif in Arthurian literature. In modern times, films like "The Da Vinci Code" and the comedic take on the Grail quest, "Monty Python and the Holy Grail," show the power of the motif to continue to resonate throughout history.
So what does this have to do with toilet paper? The search for an elusive object speaks to man's need to persevere, to continue to pursue a goal no matter how difficult. Actually the truth of the matter is more mundane. Since people are staying at home and not going to the office or workplace for eight hours or more, the need for toilet paper at home not in public lavatories increases. So, it is not a question of hoarding but only a displacement of where it is needed.
During this sobering time of home confinement, may we all search for the Holy Grail, the elusive object that will offer us hope. It may be in the music we listen to, the beauty that surrounds us in nature, the memories we uncover as we sort through the files and drawers in our homes. As we all know, however, it is the journey, the quest itself that is most important and gives us hope.
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