• Contact me at: calebjohnclark@gmail.com
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Laura, my wonderful wife, has been nothing butt supportive, as long as I washed up after experimenting. Without Laura, this book would not have been possible. Andrew Cunningham also helped a great deal with organizing the sources and editing. My mother gave read and edited drafts twice, each time giving me a few “what did I do wrong?” looks in the months following. Other friends who read drafts were: John Bordage, Helen Giesler, Betty Goldblatt, Aunt Maya and Uncle Cove, Jared Shiffman, and my brother David.

Inspiration for this book is partly my brother David’s fault actually. We were talking about bathroom humor books for some reason once on the phone and I made a joke that it would be a funny play on words to have a bathroom book that was titled “No Shit, a History of Toilet Paper.” He encouraged me to take it seriously...which is difficult. I tried, and later that night I searched the Web on the subject. I was fascinated at the objects from history that we’ve used to wipe with before TP, and how much shit has been written about shit. I actually read (okay skimmed) entire papers and books solely about shit! My favorite title was “The Portable Scatalog: Excerpts from Scatalogic Rites of All Nations,” by John G. Bourke. With a forward by, no shit, Sigmund Freud!

I drilled down from TP to the central act, wiping. It turns out that while a lot of bathroom books have been written on a lot of subjects, I couldn’t find any written from the sit point of the actual act of wiping, that innately human activity we all doo.

I became obsessed by a “Missing Link” in our wiping evolution, or better yet, a Missing Stink. Ha! For millions of years we stank, then one day we stared wiping. What's up with that? I started to do a lot of late night web surfs to begin to find out.

One night while researching wiping I found out that the reason the Old Farmers Almanac has always had a hole punched all the way through its top left corner is so you can hang it in the outhouse and wipe your a$ with its pages! Well, maybe not all the pages, just articles you don’t like. This may not be entirely true. The original reason for the hole was because people were losing the little book, like an early remote control, so the founder, Robert Thomas, put a hole in the corner in 1792 so you could tie the book to a barn beam. However, soon after that, people started hanging it in outhouses and using certain pages, perhaps ones with unfavorable weather reports, to wipe. A few years ago the current publishers tried to save money by getting rid of the hole, butt fans of the book freaked out and the publisher decided to keep the hole.

On my next call with my brother, I reported this interesting fact, and jokingly said, “I could include emergency toilet paper in the back of the book?" Then I felt the joy of an Ah Ha! moment. The dots had been connected - books are on paper, books are often read in the bathroom - paper is used to wipe - put toilet paper in a book! I also loved the idea because it had the added benefit of requiring much less writing than a normal book full of words!

Thus the Rear End chapter of this book is filled with blank pages for emergency wiping situations.

So, please, wipe your butt with this book!

- Caleb Clark, amateur wipeologist, Brattleboro, Vermont. 2011.