The Easy Way vs. The Hard Way

Credits

Carl G. Brooks – Paul Ellis
Erin Lillis – Allison Baxter
Coral Baxter-Ellis – Tal Minear

Written by Shannon Perry
Opening music “Coffee” by Cambo
Closing music “Life Illusion” by Ketsa


                CORAL
    So, who wants to announce the winner of the vote? or the loser, I guess?

                PAUL
    Remind me what we’re voting on?

                CORAL
    Lego Whorehouse or possibly ancient cutting board.

                ALLISON
    I thought we decided that was a bad idea and we weren’t doing it.

                CORAL
    And I thought that since we’d said we would, we should. Isn’t the whole point of this exercise to settle disputes?

                PAUL
    I thought we were going to learn to settle our OWN disputes.

                ALLISON
    Yeah, not outsource it.

                PAUL
    Actually, it’s not a bad idea. I wonder if we could outsource all our decisions.

                ALLISON
    We could outsource adulting! All our adulting will now be done by someone in a developing country who needs the income.

                PAUL
    I love it. Think about it: our bills would get paid on time. We’d get our car tabs BEFORE the old ones expire.

                ALLISON
    Christmas presents would be under the tree on or before December 25!

                PAUL
    And thank-you notes would go out promptly

                ALLISON
    Or at all

                PAUL
    Or at all, before the next Christmas!!

                ALLISON
    Ooooo, what else could we outsource?

                CORAL
    Parenting! That way, I’d get a consistent experience.

                PAUL
    What’s that supposed to mean?

                CORAL
    In the hands of one, actual adult, my curfew wouldn’t change depending on when I actually get home.

                ALLISON
    What are you talking about?

                CORAL
    Last year, you grounded me for a MONTH because you said 10 PM, and I came home at 10:20. What you failed to acknowledge was that dad said 10:30.

                ALLISON
    You played us against each other.

                CORAL
    Which would not be possible if you agreed on ANYTHING EVER. Or if you just outsourced parenting.

                PAUL
    Well, this just got not fun any more.

                ALLISON
    Seriously. Clearly our child outsourced her- their sense of humor.

                PAUL
    No kidding. OK, Coral, what was the verdict and how quickly can I fling the salmonella special into the trash?

                ALLISON
    When I destroy the Little Shop of Hos-

                PAUL
    BEST LITTLE WHOREHOUSE IN TEXAS

                ALLISON
    Whatever. I’m going to leave a trail of Legos from here to the dump.

                CORAL
    And the loser is…. The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.

                ALLISON
    Whoo!!!

                PAUL
    Don’t gloat, Allison. It’s very unattractive.

                ALLISON
    Oh, and “sore loser” is sexy?

                PAUL
    Speaking of sore, this week, we had a little bit of an emergency that we realized we could parlay into an episode of the show.

                ALLISON
    That’s right — our crisis is your entertainment!

                PAUL
    That sounded a little snarky.

                ALLISON
    I don’t think it did. Let me try again: Our crisis is YOUR entertainment! Better?

                PAUL
    Now it sounds cheesy AND snarky. It’s not so much the inflection as the words.

                ALLISON
    Really.
        (silence)
    Let’s move on. Now.

                PAUL
    Fine. ANYWAY, this week, the Baxter-Ellis household ran out … of toilet paper.

                ALLISON
    And this is what qualifies as an “emergency” in the lily-white, middle-class burbs, ladies and gentlemen.

                PAUL
    Well, it did when you were screaming for — and I quote — “a box of tissue, a roll of paper towel or anything you can find just make it fast,” endquote. I think at one point you even offered to use the neighbor’s cat.

                ALLISON
    I was making a joke.

                PAUL
    That was the censored version, ladies and gents.

                ALLISON
    Yeah, well, had you actually reacted instead of standing outside the bathroom door with the voice recorder, laughing, there probably would have been less cursing. Can we move on?

                PAUL
    Come on, you are incredibly creative when you’re desperate.

                ALLISON
    I was good, wasn’t I?

                PAUL
    “Bring me anything that won’t chafe or talk back” was a personal favorite.

                CORAL
    I liked “Bring me my master’s thesis since it’s already pretty crappy.” Only you didn’t say crappy.

                PAUL
    Or the quilting squares from what was going to be your baby blanket.

All laughing together

                ALLISON
    Yeah, sorry about that, kiddo. I had good intentions, 16 years and 7 months ago.

                CORAL
    I’m pretty sure I knew even then it wasn’t going to happen.

                PAUL
    Anyway, we ran out of toilet paper, and while it truly wasn’t an earth-shattering sort of experience, it did fire up a debate in our household.

                ALLISON
    Namely, recycled versus luxury.

                PAUL
    Or, alternatively, stuff that works versus stuff that doesn’t or if it does, is breathtakingly expensive.

                ALLISON
    As you may have gathered, I’m a bit of a greenie. I like the 100% post-consumer, recycled toilet paper. Cutting down trees to … well, you know… it’s just wrong.

                PAUL
    On the other hand, having to use twice or three times as much to accomplish the same job seems to me to be equally or even more wasteful. Besides, life is hard. Can’t a man have a little comfort, at least for his tushie?

                ALLISON AND CORAL
    Don’t say tushie.

                PAUL
    Fine. Bum. Bootie. Hindquarters. Caboose. Heinie. Keister. Derriere….

                ALLISON
    All right, that’ll do.

                PAUL
    Money-maker. Adam’s Crapple.

                CORAL
    Daaaad…..

                ALLISON
    Deep end. Full moon. Tail of two shi-

                PAUL
interrupting

    Ooooookaaaay, I think we’re good here.

                ALLISON
    Awww, I was just getting my second wind. Ha! “Second wind”! Geddit?

                PAUL
    Annywaaaaay, the debate on the floor is toilet paper. So let’s get started! I favor the good stuff.

                ALLISON
    Of course, what that is depends on your definition of “good.”

                PAUL
    OK, in my opinion, the “good” stuff doesn’t break or tear, and you don’t need half the roll to ensure that your hands stay clean while your bits get clean.

                ALLISON
    Maybe your technique needs work. I’ve never once had that problem.

                PAUL
    “Technique”? I don’t think there’s a problem with how I wipe my ass, Allison.

                ALLISON
    Well, clearly there is. If you learn how to manage it, you don’t need half a roll or the stuff that’s so thick you could climb Everest in it.

                PAUL
    Plus, the recycled stuff is grainy and rough. I don’t like the feel of it.

                ALLISON
    I will grant you that it has more … texture.

                PAUL
    It has twigs.

                ALLISON
    OK, let’s chill the hyperbole for a moment…

                PAUL
    Says the woman who claims she could summit Everest wrapped in nothing but two-ply.

                ALLISON
    Oh, it’s not flimsy “two-ply” anymore, these days, that stuff is at least 8 or 10-ply. How many “plys” do you actually need?

                PAUL
    As many as it takes. This is not something to stint on. I like to get clean. It’s as simple as that. This is about cleanliness. The thicker stuff does a better job.

                ALLISON
    And now they’re in “mega” rolls. It’s toilet paper, boys, not a weight lifting competition. Your manliness is not brought into question if you prefer the dainty, perfumed, “I want a mattress between my fingers and my bumhole” stuff.

                PAUL
    Seriously? Now I want the good stuff because women are just better than men?

                ALLISON
    I didn’t say that.

                PAUL
    Can I get a ruling from the judge on this one?

                CORAL
    Again, just the producer. Y’all figure it out between the two of you.

                ALLISON
    But seriously? Why put “mega” on a package that also has a soft kitten or teddy bear on it? “Strong,” “durable,” “ultra soft,” “ultra strong” — are you going in there with your hand or a backhoe?

                PAUL
    You should be happy I’m concerned about the spread of e-coli. Doesn’t that make me a good parent? A good citizen?

                ALLISON
    Alternatively, you could just wash your hands really well.

                PAUL
    So, since you’re so virtuous, why do you run out of TP in your bathroom at about four times the rate I do?

                ALLISON
    Ummm… because I’m a woman?

                PAUL
    Ha!! Gender politics! Make fun of me for being a man, but it’s totally fine to use being a woman as a justification-

                ALLISON
    Do you wipe when you pee?

                PAUL
    Huh?

                ALLISON
    Do. You. Wipe. When. You. Pee?

                PAUL
    No….

                ALLISON
    See where I’m going with this?

                PAUL
    Fine. Maybe you drink too much water?

                ALLISON
    You’ve got to be kidding.

                PAUL
    Just throwing it out there.

                ALLISON
    Well, reel it back in, Einstein. I did my research, and apparently toilet paper is responsible for 15 percent of deforestation globally, most of it in poorer countries. If we repurposed the paper we just throw away, we’d have more than enough toilet paper to keep everyone supplied.

                PAUL
    We’ll have to bump up sales of hemorrhoid cream, then.

                ALLISON
    Slightly rougher tushie paper is a small price to pay for lower CO2, lower methane, more clean water, and less paper waste.

                CORAL
    Or you could install a bidet.

pause, silence

                ALLISON
    Yeah, well, then we’d have to install a whole new appliance with its own water source-

                CORAL
    Actually they have adaptable ones that sit inside your toilet bowl.

                PAUL
    Don’t those need electricity? I don’t think I want to pee on something electrical.

                ALLISON
    Learned your lesson as a kid on the farm, didn’tcha?

                PAUL
    We’re not talking about that.

                CORAL
    The bidets I’m talking about don’t, or if they do, I’m sure they’re safe. 15 million trees, mom. Per year.

                ALLISON
    For a shot of cold water up the backside…? I dunno, honey…

                CORAL
    36 billion rolls of toilet paper. And a lot of the bidets have temperature controls. One even warms the seat for you.

                PAUL
    Where did you get all this … information?

                CORAL
    Rolling Stone magazine. Look, if you don’t want to try it, just say so. But then don’t pretend this is about trees, Mom. Or hygiene, Dad.

                ALLISON
        (stung)
    Coral!

                PAUL
    Well,… uh… I guess this week you have three options to choose from, and we’ll try whatever you decide, listeners: plush TP, recycled TP, or bidet. Visit Deconstructive Criticism dot com and cast your vote! Until next time, this has been Paul…

waits for usual sign out from Allison

                PAUL
    … and Allison and our producer Coral. We’ll see you next time.

                CORAL
    I guess you want me to take that last bit out, huh?

                ALLISON
    Do as you like. I really don’t care.

sets down headphones and walks out

                PAUL
    Try and be a little nicer to your mom, ok, kiddo?

AFTERWORD

                CORAL
    Hi, everyone. Sorry about that. Sometimes my parents can be so pretentious, it just makes me crazy. And the irony of dad telling me to be nice to mom, when he can be so mean sometimes… Anyway. Here’s the funny bit: they give me a budget for the podcast, and it’s kind of a lot. Way more than I can spend, I mean, how many microphones do they think we need? Anyway, I ordered bidets for both of their bathrooms, and when they head over to grandma’s next weekend, I’m going to install them and steal all the toilet paper. And now they’ll both feel too guilty and stupid to argue, so that’s a win. I know that’s pretty mean and sneaky of me, but I like trees. And sometimes, I really hate my parents. See you next time.

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