The right way


The right way of doing whatever. It’s a funny thing. I would contend we could build a fully developed theory around the right way to do anything.

The general argument would go like this: we are all conditioned to believe that there is a right way to do something.

Simple. Clean.

Corollaries to the theory: (1) An unspoken, silently agreed upon, conclusion that if there is a right way then any differing approach must be the wrong way. And, (2) right and wrong are opposite conclusions, therefor actions that are not the right way must be the wrong way.

Simply put: right or wrong. No middle ground.

We should probably step aside here to point out this isn’t some type of absolute proclamation. This isn’t a theory of definitives. It’s not intended to say there’s only one way of doing everything.

We all cook our scrambled eggs differently… all mow the lawn differently… all answer the phone differently… and yet the vast majority of us do a pretty good job of feeding ourselves with food we enjoy, maintain our yard, and at the same time can be amazingly friendly and approachable in conversation.

That understood… toilet paper.

What is the proper way to load the new roll when refilling the toilet paper holder? Is it the roll feeding top to bottom on the front? Is it the roll feeding top to bottom on the back?

I ask this knowing that all of us understand—even with fancy standalone models and possibilities of different styles of dispensers—the two ways of loading the toilet paper into place.

I ask this knowing that I have friends that select from each option of loading the paper into the dispensers.

I ask this knowing fully well that I have friends that are above and beyond completely convinced that the way they place the roll in the toilet paper dispensers in their homes is the right way.

If we look to apply our theory here, then someone is wrong. Both ways can’t be right. And as anyone that has been frustrated by toilet paper loaded differently than expected will confirm, there is wrong here.

But which is it? Because behind the doors of your own home… if we only ask you… you think your way is right. And that means we could have two homes, side-by-side, wrong and right at the same moment.

(Lovely. We might have a foundation now to debate Schrodinger’s toilet paper.)

The right way and/or the wrong way are effectively conditionally dependent. Some may argue that the difference between right and wrong should be based on success… in essence, if it works, it’s right… but I don’t necessarily find that to be true as an overall gauge. There are plenty of reasons why the theory I proposed earlier breaks down, regardless of our personal beliefs and motivations for potentially accepting it.

We can argue the merits of making our scrambled eggs with or without cheese, how long to cook them, and what other items to serve on the plate. None of the preparations are going to be wrong by definition. However, if you pour the raw eggs from a bowl onto the lawn and drive over them with a mower, well… wrong.

So, we still have right and wrong, but now we have middle ground along with ways for there to be directly opposed correct results.

Great. But again, not quite accurate.

If you’d like to see why, head over to see your friends a few times and flip their toilet paper around during each visit. I’m guessing once they know it was you, they’ll have some opinions on the subject, and they’ll let you know there is right and wrong, but no conditional.


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