Finding Peace in the Pandemic: Answers to Four Important Arguments

As families are locked together for weeks, tempers are flaring, arguments are erupting, and battle lines are being drawn over several arguments that should have been settled long ago. These arguments have divided generations and caused feuds between families. Pitted brother against brother, state against state, and nation against nation.

These may seem to be small, unimportant questions, but I have seen them cause arguments at family gatherings to end in tears and cries of "Are you happy? You ruined Christmas!"

As Mr. Answer Dad, I'm going to try to settle some of these raging debates and bring harmony to our homes. So let's start.

To begin, does a roll of toilet paper unroll over the top or behind the roll?

When I was a teenager, I once got into a rather vigorous debate with my mother who said the TP should unroll behind the roll. I said in a very calm, even voice that she must be crazy, because nobody in their right mind would believe such nonsense.

When I came to a few hours later, the discussion continued; she tried to end the argument by saying, "Look, it doesn't actually matter."

"Good," I said. "I'll keep doing it the right way then," and I ran away from home.

I believe in over-rolling so strongly that when my wife and I were first dating, I was all set to break it off if she was an under-roller.

Luckily for us, the first time I used her bathroom, I saw that she was on the side of goodness and light and our relationship is still going strong nearly 28 years later.

Over-rollers also have proof via the original patent: In December 1891, Seth Wheeler of Albany, New York filed a patent (#US465588A) for ". . .a roll of connected sheets of paper for toilet use, said roll having incisions at intervals. . . whereby the slight connection left may be separated without injury to the connected sheets." And his original drawings all showed the roll placed in the over-the-top fashion, which only proves that those who fail to learn from history are doomed to roll their toilet paper the wrong way.

Official decision: Over-rollers are morally superior to under-rollers..

Next, mayonnaise or Miracle Whip?

As far as I'm concerned, Miracle Whip is the devil's snot. I'm sure the people at Kraft are fine people, but Miracle Whip is nasty and you should only serve it to people you don't like.

In 1893, the notorious serial killer, H. H. Holmes, who claimed to have killed as many as 200 people, lived near that year's World's Fair in Chicago. Forty years later, Miracle Whip was introduced at the 1933 Chicago World's Fair.

Coincidence? Probably, but who's to say for sure?

Official decision: Mayonnaise.

Sandwiches: Triangle Cut or Square Cut?

When I was very young, my mom would always cut my sandwiches — made with mayonnaise — vertically in half. Only occasionally would she cut them diagonally, like they did at restaurants. She insisted that my sandwiches had to be square cut. So I grew up thinking that triangle cuts were the fancy way of cutting sandwiches and only for special occasions. Even now, I feel a twinge of guilt when I cut my sandwiches on the diagonal.

On the other hand, my wife does not like bread crust and says that with the triangle cut, there's a higher crust-to-bread ratio, which she says ruins the sandwich. But with a square cut, the crust-to-bread ratio is more even.

Official decision: Triangle cuts are still the best because they're fancy.

Sticking with the food theme, pop or soda?

Growing up in Indiana, soft drinks were either "pop" or "Coke." It didn't matter what brand of pop you were drinking, it was Coke. Coke was Coke, RC was Coke, even Pepsi was Coke. And when you asked for Coke in a restaurant, the servers knew you wanted a brown cola, regardless of the brand. There was none of this, "Is Pepsi okay?" nonsense they ask you now.

First of all, no, it's not. Second, yes, please. It's all Coke. Even now, I ask for Coke, whether or not it's actual Coca-Cola — "Co-cola" in the South.

Needless to say, I was surprised the first time I ever went to the East Coast and heard someone call Coke "soda." I had never heard that, and they had never heard anyone call it pop. We each believed the other person was a slack-jawed mouth-breather, and we never settled the argument to anyone's satisfaction, except I was right and they were wrong.

Official decision: Now that I live in Florida, I will very occasionally call it soda, but in my heart, it will always be pop.

That's all we have time for on Ask Mr. Answer Dad today. Tune in next time when I demonstrate how a hot dog is a sandwich and pie is far superior to cake.

Photo credit: Seth Wheeler (Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain)

My new humor novel, Mackinac Island Nation, is finished and available on Amazon. You can get the Kindle version here or the paperback version here.