The timber sale up at the deer camp seems to be stalled. Pulp prices are depressed and the loggers must be reading the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, which remind us daily just how damn tough things really are. When I read the toilet paper article in the former of those fine, polar opposite publications, I was puzzled as to why pulp prices were down, since we wimpy Americans insist on soft toilet tissue made from virgin pulp to wipe our delicate behinds.
I admit that I never knew we used virgin pulp to make toilet paper, and it's disturbing to me on a number of levels. When they ruthlessly chopped down the great white pine forests of the Great Lakes states in the latter 19th and early 20th century, the logs were mostly used for saw timber and built the majority of cities in the midwest including Minneapolis/St Paul, St Louis, and Chicago. My relatives on both the Scandanavian and Irish sides of the family assisted greatly in this large scale leveling of the forests in northern Wisconsin, working as loggers, sawmill workers, and lumber yard help. Logging practices have progressed significantly since then and clear cutting is generally only used when the owner wants the stand to regenerate as aspen. Or when a large conglomerate like Plum Creek, owner of over a quarter million acres of Wisconsin, clear cuts the stand, douses it with herbicide to make sure that none of the natural vegetation begins to grow, and plants row upon boring row of the fast growing but unappealing red pine. No matter how the timber is cut, it would be nice to believe that your wood is being used to construct homes, panel offices, or build decks, things that are permanent and contribute to our quality of life. The image of some fat slob wiping his ass with toilet paper made from my forest is not a comforting or fulfilling one. I can't imagine what the KingOfIronwoodIsland must think. The photo below is of his bowstand, formerly a secluded, secretive site, deep in the woods, where a number of deer have been missed and some harvested (including by yours truly, who stumbled across it and marked it on the gps). After the timber sale a person could drive a VW Passat to the stand and the lack of cover makes it look more like the crows nest on a ship than a deer stand. As a solid Yooper guy, he may become homicidal when he learns that his deer blind has been destroyed so that some yuppie can wipe his delicate ass with nice, soft, Charmin.
During the Brezhnev era I had the privelege of spending a few weeks in the Soviet Union. We were warned to bring lots of toilet paper because the stuff over there was like 120 grit sand paper. I ignored the advice and brought albums and blue jeans instead, the black market proceeds of which allowed me, a poor college student, to live like a king while I was there. The toilet paper just wasn't that bad; they have the same trees as we do and, biologically speaking, the same rear ends. Before the 'invention' of toilet paper people survived quite nicely with last years Sears catalog sitting in the outhouse. I still remember the novelty 'electric toilet paper' on the wall of my aunt and uncles outhouse near Chetek, WI, another homespun method of finishing your bidness.
Toughen up people! For gods sake lets not be such simpering, whining, wimps about everything, especially the lowly product that we wipe our butts with. “No forest of any kind should be used to make toilet paper,” said Dr. Allen Hershkowitz, a senior scientist and waste expert with the Natural Resource Defense Council. I agree with Dr Herhkowitz. Check out the Greenpeace guide to recycled toilet paper and give it a try. I certainly plan on it and may even issue a report on a future blog post. Unless there is popular outcry not to, of course. Seriously, give the recycled a try. I'm sure civilization as well as your behind will be the better for it.