You know what you call the tube in the middle of the toilet paper roll? The doot-de-doo. Because, when you're on the john and run out, you trumpet "doot-de-doo!" with it for someone to bring a fresh roll.

I taught this to my friends' two daughters a couple weeks ago: one is seven, the other four. They giggled and laughed and then put it to practice. Their mother texted me this morning to say that she found the little one sitting on the pot, very sad, with no TP and no way to call the cavalry for more because her sister had taken the doot-de-doo for arts-and-crafts supplies.

The doot-de-doo isn't my family's tradition, it was shared with us by a friend of my father's, Lee, a behavioral psychologist (and a Green Beret who once literally slept with booby traps around his bunk.)

They don't make guys like Lee anymore. I remember going over to his home with my parents; his wife was on jury duty in an infamous murder trial which she'd wanted out of, if I recall. She answered the phone and once Lee realized she was speaking to someone from the court administration, Lee hollered out "You gonna hang that sumbitch, honey?!"

Lee died a couple years ago, but I think he'd be delighted to know the doot-de-doo, and its purpose, lives on.

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