After being here for nearly two months, I thought it was about time I started talking about toilet paper. Why toilet paper? Because in Iraq, toilet paper isn’t just for wiping your butt.
Well, yeah… I guess you could wipe your butt with the toilet paper, but there’s danger in that. All of the toilet paper here is one-ply. It’s also the roughest stuff ever to grace my rear end. (I’ll give you a second to make your own joke here.) Let me put it this way: baby wipes are very popular here.
But let’s talk about the most unusual use of toilet paper in Baghdad.
Every time we enter the dining facility here, we’re required to wash our hands. Evidently, washing your hands prevents the spread of germs… or gonorrhea… or something — I wasn’t listening. Well, when you’re done, you have to dry your hands on these paper towels. But WAIT! They aren’t paper towels at all! They’re really giant rolls of toilet paper!
This is when the fun begins as you attempt to dry your hands without them tearing up into wet little pieces that stick to your hand. It’s complicated, and I think the only successful way to dry your hands with toilet paper is to use the dabbing-until-dry technique.
It’s just plain embarrassing to give the line server your plate when you’ve got toilet paper hanging off your hand. People just give you that “you’ve been wiping your butt with that hand” stare.
Anyway, if you ever deploy to Baghdad, be sure you make friends with the Brawny man. He digs plaid, and he dries your hands without the stigma that comes with being seen with little pieces of toilet paper on your hand.