Breaking Bad – Cooking illicit TP in San Juan County

Well, I snuck back into town last week; I barely caught the last flight out of D.C.
I have been responsibly self-quarantining and have only left the house a few times. This time at home was fortunate since I was able to catch up on reading my stacks of old San Juan Records.
I left my house once to buy a case of Pepsi and another time to stock up on toilet paper (TP), which I didn’t find.
Regretfully, the airlines would not let me bring my pallet of TP that I schlepped back to my D.C. apartment. They confiscated it like common drug paraphernalia.
I share this because my too kind and loving wife, apparently, was not planning on having me back any time soon because our usually amply-stocked food storage looked like Ol’ Mother Hubbard’s cupboard.
Not to share too much of my medical history, but (no pun intended) when you don’t have a stomach, being regular is a way of life.
Let’s just say I have ample opportunity to read the classics and give the “thumbs up” sign on all my friends’ Facebook posts – all from the comfort of my house.
Really, porcelain and the iPhone have done more to change world history than all other inventions except for perhaps the printing press.
I am sufficiently old that I can truly say there are very few things in life better than a home-cooked meal and regular bowel movements.
And this isn’t necessarily just for old people. Honestly, we have had entire discussions around the kitchen table with my children discussing how to get their kids to have a good bowel movement.
In fact, I have learned that if a baby hasn’t had a bowel movement, they “don’t feel well” or “their tummy is upset.”
This is all code for “poor little thing hasn’t pooped for a couple of days.” Well ditto for adults. Duh!
A healthy, active bowel, a dwindling supply of toilet paper at home, and nothing but empty shelves at the store...
I called my in-laws, my neighbors, and the Bishop; not even a square to sneeze at.
I just want to say I used to have to go to the bathroom in an old two-seater outhouse at my grandma’s. I’ve been lost in the woods and was forced to be creative with a plant we called the Elephant Ear. The fuzzy Lamb’s Ear is the Charmin of forest plants by the way.
I have been trapped on my porcelain throne and forced to yell at the top of my lungs because some kid didn’t put a new roll of toilet paper on the roller. I can do hard things!
But here I am sitting with a stack of old San Juan Records and a dwindling roll of toilet paper. Hmmm.
Fortunately, my too kind and loving wife is working, so I have about four hours to turn newspapers into toilet paper. It’s not like I am trying to change water into wine. This isn’t a miracle; this is just pure applied science.
A quick read on the internet and sure enough, I think I have all the right ingredients, ample desperation, my usual unbridled confidence, and enough newspapers to supply San Juan County should the need arise.
I feel like Bryan Cranston in Breaking Bad, clad in my yellow Haz-mat suit boiling pots of illicit toilet paper to be sold to desperate people with dark circles around their eyes.
I have been clipping and saving my newspaper articles for years; finally, something useful to do with these stacks of award-winning wit and insight.
Oh sure. My sister-in-law has always said I was full of crap, but she is going to be singing my praises now.
After all, one of the greatest lessons in life, says Churchill, is that “even fools are right sometimes.”
And my twisted dark side gets a little chuckle as I throw in a few papers with Nancy Pelosi’s picture and an article from the Washington Post. I have a brother-in-law who would pay good money to tell Nancy or Bernie to kiss his derriere.
What started as a mere desperate act by a desperate man has grown into a business enterprise brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Well, my momma used to always say, if life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Well, I say if the world gives you newspapers, make toilet paper.
The good book says from dust you were made and to dust you shall return. I say if newspapers give you crappy journalism, then give back the same.
I embark on my most sophisticated DIY project. Old newspapers? Check. Pot of boiling water? Check. Rolling pin? Check. Potpourri? Check. Ladle? Check. Baby oil? Hmmm, nope. Pennzoil 30W oil? Check.
Soak the paper until most of the ink comes off, but I want to keep Bernie’s mug shot front and center. In San Juan County, that roll will sell like hot cakes.
If I could get Nancy’s picture to stay mostly visible, well, let’s just say I will have been well compensated for ruining the rolling pin.
I have all the confidence of any novice artisan. I watch a YouTube video, follow the directions I found on the internet, and remember that one time I helped my too kind and loving wife can peaches, which is sorta similar.
Okay, helped may be too strong of a word. I watched her can peaches once. Okay, that’s a stretch. I was in the house when she canned peaches. Okay, if I’m being completely honest, I’ve only eaten the canned peaches.
But again, this is just applied science and I’m an engineer, so how hard can it be to get a vat of water boiling, throw in some newspapers, stir a few minutes, roll them flat, and cut into strips. It works for fruit leather.
I just don’t see what can go wrong. After all, “fools rush in where angels fear to tread.”
When my too kind and loving wife gets home (a little early, I might add), she looks over her glasses with the same look she gives her third graders who are carving their initials into their desk and asks, “What on earth are you doing?”
I am holding the rolling pin. “Making lemonade.”
She turns on her heel and starts to escape my garage but says over her shoulder, “Really? Are you a fool?”
She disappears, muttering to herself. “Making toilet paper out of newspapers. Next thing he’ll be making dust masks out of jock-straps.”
The light went on above my head and I thought of Thomas Edison. “Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.”
In my hazmat suit I was perspiring plenty, so I took the jock-strap idea and stored it in my inspiration folder for later.

San Juan Record

49 South Main St
PO Box 879
Monticello, UT 84535

Phone: 435.587.2277
Fax: 435.587.3377
Open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday