As opposed to tissue of lies
Theologians are familiar with the Kleenex box as one of the more compelling proofs of the existence of God. After all, if there is no God, then who keeps pushing up the next tissue? It makes you think!
I was thinking about tissues recently. Or, more correctly, I was stanching a nose bleed and thinking about why so many people insist on mistakenly saying “staunch” (hearty or solid) in place of “stanch” (quell or block). The words are even different parts of speech. I crumpled up the bloody tissue and reached for the next one—but it was not there. Had God failed me? No. The box was merely empty.
I fumbled around in the cabinet under the bathroom counter and found a box that had been pushed toward the back. I winkled it out, tore out the perforated slot, and pulled out a fresh tissue. As I did, the next tissue popped up. (Thanks, God!) And a savings coupon for my next purchase of Kleenex also fluttered out. (Thanks, Kimberly Clark!)
Then I noticed something. Date of expiration: October 31, 2000.
Okay, this was one coupon I wouldn't be using. The box of Kleenex had evidently been lurking in my bathroom cabinet since the final days of the Clinton administration. The notion seized me and wouldn't let go for several minutes.
Eight years ago George Bush was not president and none of his disasters had befallen us. My cousin was alive and in high school, thinking of joining the military after college. The twin towers of the World Trade Center stood in New York City and I was going to see them the next summer, just before they were brought down. John McCain had lost all credibility by embracing the man who had abused him during the primary campaign and was due to retire in luxury and obscurity. And I had never heard of an Illinois state senator named Barack Obama. I didn't have a doctorate. My one-year-old nephew was in the middle of a custody tug-of-war that would continue till he was two. My colleague in the math department was robustly healthy and had no idea her pancreas was going to betray her.
Then I wiped my nose. The bleeding had stopped.
If only everyone could say that.