I want to talk about that:

An eggplant TP holder

I visited my parents over the end of the year. They still live in the house where I grew up. The holidays being what they are, we ended up quite jovial at the end of an evening meal with my family. Together with my siblings we started cataloging items for what would need to be disposed of once my parents kick the bucket (in their presence of course, as tactful and loving children do). After close to 40 years in this house, this exercise had the funny side-effect of making me notice things that had always been there, but I never really saw.

That eggplant is one of them. It’s in my parent’s bathroom. It’s a TP dispenser.

I became quite interested in that thing. An eggplant TP holder is not something you see everyday, yet to me, this was the main option available for close to two decades. To the point that I became oblivious to the fact that nothing about it makes sense.

There’s another hole in the tiles behind it, which means that there was another TP holder prior to that. Someone decided that this was the superior option, and went through the trouble of substituting it for whatever was there before. Note that this isn’t your standard TP holder. It requires two hooks to be affixed to the wall, which themselves need two holes drilled into the tiles. If you’ve ever drilled ceramic tiles, this tells you how much whomever wanted this to serve them TP, really wanted it.

I asked my mom about it. She was the one who bought it. She even seem to remember where, and roughly when (a convenience shop, while leaving in her small house prior to moving in with my dad). She said she liked it, so she bought it. So that’s how you decide to buy an eggplant TP dispenser: you just like it. They brought it when they moved. I don’t have details for whatever comes next, I can only guess the prior owners had some banana TP-dispenser they really liked, and they insisted on bringing it along into their new home. Thus creating some kind of chain of proud novelty TP-dispensers owners.

Someone designed it as well. I mean, they had at least one customer, so that would prove them right. Yet, green-lighting project eggplant-for-TP must have required no small amount of courage. It must have been in the late 70s to early 80s, so things were likely more relaxed back then. I invite you to walk in the shoes of the marketer entering the meeting room to present the project. They probably have a scotch in their hands (or a joint, or maybe both), and they wear boot-cut flower patterned pants, and a purple high collar shirt. What did they say in there, to convince everyone that the investment would yield any sort of return? Maybe they presented the eggplant as being a cute and acceptable substitute for something else1. History is lost to us. But it must have been quite brilliant. I like to think it was the first occurrence of a highly successful, long forgotten series of vegetable-patterned items

Or maybe it was destined to hold something else2, and its use was perverted by my mother ; diverting its course from a brilliant carrier as a [GO FIGURE WHAT]-holder, to a life spent in a room where unspeakable deeds get committed, frequently soiled by dirty hands, before returning to darkness and solitude until further atrocities.

Note that despite its curious aspect, this thing’s build quality is good. The handle and the bottom bar (that I can only assume was added to further stability) is hardwood. The rest is the same thick plasticky fabric that you’d expect to see inflatable lifeboats made out of. As far as I can tell, it’s been in service for over 40 years, and it’s still kicking. It’s torn in a couple places, so that’s not a 10/10 on quality - yet, it reached a stable state that allows it to continue its function. So it’s not only an eggplant TP-dispenser. It’s a top-quality one. They spared no expense.

In its own right, this thing should not exist. Yet it does. Sometimes things don’t have to make sense. They just are. I’m never trusting an economist again.

Notes

  1. Remember, this pre-dates emojis. 

  2. not eggplants though, they wouldn’t fit, which makes you wonder…