“Please … don’t squeeze the Charmin!”
If you’re an American of a certain age, that plea surely rings through your ears every time you walk down the toilet paper aisle at the local grocery story.
And why not?
For decades, Mr. Whipple bombarded us with the admonishment during commercial breaks on our favorite television shows … and it stuck!
The old man became a beloved — if annoying — part of our collective memories and, more importantly, of our collective conscience.
You know, like if you squeeze the Charmin, you’re some sort of bad person. A monster, even.
Well, I’m here to tell you it’s all bunk. That Mr. Whipple was wrong at best and shady at worst.
Either way, here are five reasons to ignore Mr. Whipple and his “don’t squeeze the Charmin” stodginess.
You might ask yourself why refraining from squeezing the Charmin is such a big deal in the first place.
I mean, why would anybody even want to squeeze the Charmin?
Well … have you ever petted a dog?
Or cuddled up to a soft blanket?
Or squeezed a stress ball?
Or watched Blair Witch and concurred with Heather — soft … marshmallow?
Sure you have. And you enjoyed it.
And do you know why you enjoyed it?
Because life is stressful, and soft stuff makes you feel better. Helps relieve that stress.
To get Freudian, soft stuff likely reminds you — at some base level — of snuggling into your mom’s bosom. Ick, I know.
But the point is, Charmin is soft and comfortable, and squeezing it can help relieve stress. Or at least it feels that way.
And we have pretty strong evidence that’s what Mr. Whipple thinks, too, and that it’s selfishness that motivates his nagging.
Well, mostly it’s his …
The drill is familiar …
Whipple comes upon someone squeezing the Charmin — often sneaking up on them.
Whipple shames that person or person for their transgressions against the toilet paper.
Whipple sends the person or persons scuttling to other parts of the store, or out of the store altogether.
Whipple stands there holding the Charmin, shifting his eyes left to right to see if anyone is looking.
Whipple *gasp* squeezes the Charmin and giggles.
This is a nervous, stressed man, folks, and he’s using the very Charmin that he would deny you as a coping mechanism.
For his own stress relief.
Heck, very late in the run, Whipple even had a change of heart and began encouraging people to squeeze the Charmin.
Mostly, though, he kept it all for himself.
Don’t let Whipple hog the comfort.
English Infiltration/Royal Loyalties
Did you know that Mr. Whipple was born in England and raised in Canada?
Well, not Whipple, exactly, but Dick Wilson … the actor who portrayed Whipple.
Now, Whipple (Wilson) did become an American citizen, but you know there had to be some latent loyalties to the Queen.
I don’t know what kind of toilet paper they have in England — or what kind they had during Whipple’s 1960s-through-1980s heyday — but it can’t be as luxurious as Charmin.
And do you think Whipple could let the Grande Dame chafe her ordained bunnies with lesser paper while us spoiled Americans clean up on rolled clouds?
It would be no surprise at all, then, if Whipple was preserving the best of the best for some sort of tithe back to the motherland.
And if you don’t believe me, you can consult the …
Do you remember the goofy stock boy who accompanied Mr. Whipple through part of his 1980s run?
You know, he was the one who was typically awkward, sort of helpful, but ultimately not up to Whipple’s snuff.
If you go back and check him out now, you might find that he looks sorta familiar. Wonder why …
Well, probably because that stock boy is none other than Adam Savage from the MythBusters, the Discovery Channel program that did its best to … well, to bust myths.
Think it’s a coincidence that Whipple’s sidekick went on to give us the real scoop on urban legends and the like?
He knew that squeezing the Charmin was no sin.
Mr. Whipple wasn’t always Mr. Whipple.
Or, at least Dick Wilson didn’t always play Mr. Whipple.
See, Wilson was born way back in 1916, which meant he was nearly 50 before he landed his Charmin gig (1965-1989, 1999-2000).
Prior to that, he racked up tons of minor credits for his work on various TV series and even landed a recurring role on McHale’s Navy starting in 1963.
Not long after he became Whipple, Wilson also began appearing on Hogan’s Heroes.
But maybe his best-known non-Whipple role was as “various” drunks on Bewitched, starting the same year (1965) that his Charmin run began.
He would down the hooch, get a little loopy, see something that didn’t look quite right from the witchy side of the world … and go back to his hooch for comfort.
In his off time, he’d go to the Charmin for comfort.
See … again, Whipple was telling you what you should be doing with the Charmin. All you had to do was pay attention.
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