Not much separates me from a standard roll of toilet paper. In the baby economy, I was produced in bulk; I am a multiple. Like so many other items in today’s market, I was joined with two other similar products to form a three-pack. It is safe to say my parents got the most out of the birthing experience by getting three for the price of one, but little did they know, they would receive more than they bargained for. It was understandably hard for my parents to manage a set of three, but looking into the six innocent eyes wiped away concerns about the future complications. Fortunately, after birth I was not shoved into the bathroom cabinet by my loving parents, but in some ways I can definitely identify with the common bathroom accessory.
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Whether it’s Charmin, Scott, Quilted Northern, or Cottonelle, toilet paper is branded immediately on the assembly line. Wrapped in plastic with the signature logo, consumers view each package as a unit. I may not be spending my days sitting on a shelf in the local convenience store, but I still am identified by my brand. As I walk the hallways of my high school or sit in the bleachers at football games with my sisters, I am seen as part of a whole. We are “The Triplets,” “The Geipels,” or simply “The Three.” We are tied together with the strands of our shared DNA and displayed to the outside world as an inseparable entity.
In this fast-paced world, not many people spend time carefully making their toilet paper decisions. Rather, they hastily opt for the fast, easy, and affordable option. Their attention is focused on the label and price tag, instead of the objects inside. Consumers observe the neatly packed bundle as a single unit, disregarding its multiple components. Nobody looks at the individual rolls, just like nobody sees the individual that I am. My faults are my sisters’ and theirs are mine; we are the same by association. If by chance one notices a flaw in an individual roll of toilet paper, the whole pack is rejected. I am enclosed inside a package I cannot break, a package people have wrapped around my sisters and me.
At some point though, a roll of toilet paper has its own shining moment. The day comes when the package is opened and the individual rolls of bathroom tissue emerge. Each is selected for use by itself, alone. This moment is coming as I prepare to exit high school and depart from a childhood of fond memories and happiness with my sisters. The diploma I will receive in June is the sharpened blade that will cut me free from my juvenile ties to my siblings. We will go in separate directions to fulfill our own dreams. The world will look upon us in a new light with our new identities.
After I break this package that I was born inside, I have plans to pursue further education to accomplish my dreams of becoming a doctor. In this profession, I will become the classifier rather than the classified, labeler instead of the labeled. My imminent quest for revenge has just begun, channeling my bottled up resentment into a positive form. However, having received superficial judgments myself, I will know better than to identify individuals solely by their issues – “broken ankle girl” or “sprained shoulder man” – but as people with unique feelings and personalities. My goal is to reverse the treatment I received by giving proper, individual treatment to my patients.
I refuse to be a roll of Cottonelle or Charmin; I am my own brand that I will produce for the world and Lawrence University down to my very last sheet.