Friday, June 25, 2004

The Toilet Paper King of the Greater Northwest

So I'm at a wedding. Aren't I always. You know how it is: dressed in your Sunday best, over-madeup, your most vibrant conversation itching to get out, you sit down at a table for twelve, there's an awkwardness as everyone glances at everyone else's name placename. "Hi, nice to meet you." We're all charming and sociable, I'm sure, but there's something inevitably... forced about these arrangements.

"Bride or groom?" Both, sometimes. People's social lives are much more integrated in the post-marriage era. The couple were getting married for tax reasons, apparently.

You don't always know what to say. "How do you know Alexandra? You were in AA together? Lovely."

My immediate left-hand tablemate is ten years older than me, and looks like he had a lot of late nights in the eighties. Skin sagging around his eyes. He's an accountant. My right-hand tablemate (people always boy-girl the tableplans) looks a little less worn, and as soon as he clasps my hand firmly, and intones "David Cohen, the toilet paper king," and I know (a) he's not being ironic, and (b) he's a salesman, for sure.

Turns out that the UK has the only differentiated toilet paper market in the UK; quilted, coloured, luxury. You name it, we do it. Who knew?

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