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What Is It With Environmentalists And Our Bathrooms?

What Is It With Environmentalists And Our Bathrooms?

Good morning.

Eaten breakfast yet? 

If not, have a Pop-Tart, a cup of coffee and come back when you're finished.

I’ll wait.

OK, we’re going to talk about something in the news that’s as repulsive as it is wacky. 

The “family cloth.” 

Reusable toilet paper. Made from your old T-shirts, bed sheets or blue jeans. 


Perhaps you heard. Environmentalists want us to switch from toilet paper to washable fabric swatches.

Just like they used in the 18th century!

Here's how it works: The soiled cloths are tossed into a stinky bin on the bathroom floor where they wait to be thrown in the washing machine. 

For those who are squeamish about shared butt blotters, family cloth enthusiasts suggest color coding the fabrics for family members.

As if THAT makes the concept more appealing.

No mention of what to do about guests.

Oh, and guess who will wash these reeking rags?


Studies show that one constant in modern marriages is that women do most of the housework.

Don’t take my word for it. There's this from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics:

On an average day, women spent more than twice as much time preparing food and drink and doing interior cleaning, and over three times as much time doing laundry as did men.”

Lucky us. We need more work.

I'm just going to say “no thanks” to this loopy idea. It's not just the germs and the extra loads of laundry, either.  I don’t want a bin full of urine-soaked cotton squares infusing my bathroom with that unmistakable bus station restroom aroma - no matter how many trees it may save.

While BuzzFeed gushed about the family cloth this week, USA Today took a swipe at it.

Kelly Reynolds, a public health researcher at the University of Arizona, told the paper that the health risks from washable toilet paper are serious. She also noted that the energy it takes to adequately sterilize reusable wipes - scalding water and buckets of bleach - outweighs any environmental benefit associated with shunning toilet paper.

What is it with the Birkenstock crowd and our bathroom habits anyway? 

Back in 2007, when climate change was still called global warming, that well-known scientist/singer Sheryl Crow decreed that everyone should use fewer sheets of toilet paper.

Far fewer.

Crow was quoted at the time saying folks should use "one square per restroom visit - except, of course, on those pesky occasions when two or three are required.”

One square.

The singer later said she was joking. But that was only after several news organizations pointed out that when Crow was on tour she traveled with four buses, three tractor trailers and six cars.

Yep, Sheryl Crow was scolding ordinary Americans for using too many inches of toilet paper while she was stomping around the world with a Sasquatch-sized carbon footprint of her own.

Crow hasn’t weighed in yet on the family cloth movement. I have a feeling she's going to love it.

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