I was recently invited to the White House to meet President Barack Obama. While I was waiting in the reception area, an aide asked me if I needed anything. “Can I bring you some water, juice…”

I was quite nervous for my big meeting. “No thanks… but could I use the restroom?”

The aide led me down a corridor to a door labeled MEN (so far so good). I slipped inside and fastened the lock. Inside was just enough space for a toilet and a sink. I turned on the cold water and suddenly wondered if this modest men’s room was the one which the president puts to work. As far as I could tell, it was the commode closest to the Oval Office. So this is where the man, who also happens to be Leader of the Free World, enjoys his scarce minutes of true privacy. As I sat, chin on my fist, elbow on my knee, I reflected on the great leaders who had once graced this porcelain throne: John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, Martin Sheen...

OK, time to get it together. I was just minutes from meeting the President of the United States of America. I cleared my throat, took a deep breath, counted to ten one, two, thr-aaaaay what’s this?

I reached for the toilet paper and couldn’t believe my eyes. In case you’re wondering what kind of TP the POTUS uses (and who isn’t?), let’s just say it’s not as... charmin’ as you’d think. In fact, it’s basic two-ply government-issue tissue. It’s the same basic stuff the army private uses in Afghanistan and the black bear uses in Yellowstone. So the next time you’re complaining of taxes taken from your paycheck, remember, the president feels your pain when he does his duty. So the next time you’re mulling brands in the toilet paper aisle, remember, neither quilted nor aloe for this administration!

I pulled up my pants and met President Obama. Our chat went well. I meant to ask him what kind of paper he uses in the East Wing but strangely it slipped my mind. When I left the Oval Office I wasn’t offered any White House key chains, pens, bottle openers, or official birth certificate holders. But I did walk out patting my breast pocket, which held one small souvenir: a neatly folded square of two-ply government-issue toilet paper.