Out of everyone, I was the one who won the big contest. I was the 2013 champion of the Scott Paper Towels: Most Regular Guy competition. I couldn’t believe it.
“In your face!” I screamed, still not entirely sure what I’d won or how I’d entered or to whose face I was demanding that something be either thrown or shoved into.
“What do I win?” I asked the representative.
“Free paper towels for a year.”
I was so happy I could cry.
“Plus you get to be in a commercial.”
The way it worked was that the winner of the contest was determined to be the most statistically average man in the entire world. The data took everything into account; things like age, height, weight, marital status, and even Internet search history. I was smack dab in the middle.
“Like ALL of my search history?”
“ALL of it,” the representative replied.
“Even though I went back and…”
“But I thought if I went into ‘Settings’…”
“What happened to last year’s winner?”
“He shot himself,” said the representative. “But here. We need a signature for the paper towels.”
That year, I lived like a king. At least, when it came to paper towel usage, I lived like a king. In every other facet of my life, I lived about the same. Okay, so maybe a little less than the same. In a moment of weakness, I’d quit my job thinking that I could somehow use the unlimited paper towels as currency. No dice. It was a foolish mistake financially, but far worse was the emotional toll that the days spent sitting in an apartment filled with paper towels took on me.
Every waking hour only seemed to drag me cruelly towards the end of my eligibility for free paper towels. Any moment not spent thinking about how to use more felt like wasted time. Nothing else got done.
One night, my wife Diane came home to find that I’d wrapped the mattress in several layers of paper towels.
“So when one layer gets dirty, bam! We just peel it away and there’s a new layer.”
Diane stared at it for a while then said, “I just don’t see what’s stopping multiple layers from getting dirty all at once. Paper towels are pretty thin.”
I sighed and closed my eyes. “I need a friend here, Diane. Okay?”
“But do you really think it’s a good idea?”
“I think it’s an idea. And I’m proud that I did it.”
“I can acknowledge that I did it.”