Mr. Whipple died yesterday.
If you grew up in the 20 years that spanned the mid-1960s to the mid-1980s and you watched t.v., Mr. Whipple was a staple in American advertising. He was the guy who told you "not to squeeze the Charmin" toilet paper, then would be caught doing it himself. He personified "do as I say, not as I do."
Who among us as kids didn't run around saying "Don't squeeze the Charmin" every time we went to the grocery store with mom or dad? The impact of the Charmin campaign on consumer choice in bathroom tissue was--and remains--unprecedented for manufacturers of toilet paper. Charmin is the gold standard as the softest, fluffiest, kindest, and gentlest bummy waddy out there. It's also the most controversial for the amount of virgin tree fiber it requires to make a product that's going to get flushed. As one environmental group put it, we're flushing the boreal forest straight down the toilet when we use Charmin.
But this isn't about the toilet paper consuming habits of tussy-sensitive Americans. This is about a man who became an icon by being a curmudgeonly, lovable disciplinarian (and closet scofflaw) of toilet paper squeezers everywhere. Rest in peace, Mr. Whipple. I hope your cloud in heaven is squeezably soft, gentle on your skin, and environmentally correct.
Video clip courtesy of YouTube