“Oh, no, Barney, you don’t mean -“

“That’s right. It’s time to figure out next year’s budget. Are you ready?”

“I’m ready if you are, Barney. Let’s do it.”

“Here’s the way I see it. With our combined incomes we’re looking at netting somewhere in the mid six figures.”


“Now, in 2002 we split everything pretty evenly, with 50 percent of the net going to concert tickets, such as Avril Lavigne and George Jones.”

“Uh, uh.”

“And fifty percent going to toilet paper.”

“That sounds about right.”

“However, this year I was thinking that we could set aside 75 percent for concert tickets, including Peter Gabriel, The Rolling Stones and The Pretenders.”

“75 percent? Are you sure, Barney? That leaves only 25 percent for toilet paper.”

“I know, but I think we can swing it.”

“But if we spend only 25 percent of our net income on toilet paper, we may not have enough toilet paper to last us through the year.”

” Maybe not, but we’ll have more concert tickets, including silverchair and Neil Diamond.”

“Hmmm, I don’t know, Barney. Buying more concert tickets sounds great, but what good is an extra concert if you don’t have enough toilet paper to enjoy it?”

“That is a problem, Edna. On the other hand, what if we’re wrong? We could end up missing Pearl Jam and Bon Jovi, yet have more toilet paper than we know what to do with.”

“Well, you know what they say. You can never have enough toilet paper.”

“Or concert tickets. However, when it comes to budgeting, the goal is to strike a perfect balance between concert tickets and toilet paper.”

“I agree. We should set aside enough money for all the shows, including Robbie Williams and Dave Matthews Band.”

“While at the same time have enough toilet paper for the entire year. After all, we don’t want a repeat of 1999.”

“You mean when we ran out of toilet paper during the intermission of that Elton John / Billy Joel co-headline? So, what should we do, Barney?”

“I don’t know, Edna. Hmmm, wait a second. What if we switch from four-ply to two-ply? That would double the amount of money for concert tickets. We could see The Wallflowers, Guns N’ Roses and Charlie Daniels Band.”

“Two-ply? I don’t like the sound of that, Barney. I mean, how can we enjoy a show, say John Tesh or Yanni, if we’re only using two-ply toilet paper? That doesn’t sound safe. We definitely need the comfort and security that four-ply gives us.”

“Okay, flush the two-ply. Hey, I got it. Why don’t we compromise?”

“You mean, switch to three-ply?”

“Uh, uh.”

“That just might work, Barney. Run the numbers.”

“Okay. Well, well, well. Would you look at that.”

“Wow! The numbers balance! We’ll have enough money for all the concerts, like Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty.”

“And have enough cash for toilet paper, no matter if we see Camper Van Beethoven, Bryan Adams or Santana. And… And… Oh, oh.”

“What’s wrong, Barney?”

“I forgot to factor in the service charges. Just a sec. Let me wipe this screen… There. Damn! It looks as if we’re back where we started, Edna. Edna? Where are you going, Edna?”

“To the store, Barney. After seeing those service charges, there’s something I have to do. Now.”

“What’s that, Edna?”

“Buy more toilet paper.”

“Oh crap.”