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Feel Good Fridays – The “Good” Napkins

My mother taught me to read when I was four years old (her first mistake). One day, I was in the bathroom and noticed one of the cabinet doors was ajar. I read the box in the cabinet. I then asked my mother why she was keeping ‘napkins’ in the bathroom. Didn’t they belong in the kitchen?

Not wanting to burden me with unnecessary facts, she told me that those were for ‘special occasions’ (her second mistake)..
Now fast forward a few months. It’s Thanksgiving Day, and my folks are leaving to pick up my uncle and his wife for dinner. Mom had assignments for all of us while they were gone. Mine was to set the table (her third mistake).

When they returned, my uncle came in first and immediately burst into laughter. Next came his wife, who gasped, then, began giggling. Next came my father, who roared with laughter. Then came Mom, who almost died of embarrassment when she saw each place setting on the table with a ‘special occasion’ Kotex napkin at each plate, with the fork carefully arranged on top. I had even tucked the little tail in so they didn’t hang off the edge!! My mother asked me why I used these and, of course, my response sent the other adults into further fits of laughter. ‘But, Mom, you said they were for special occasions!!!’

{ 25 comments… add one }
  • Zanzibar April 9, 2010, 6:24 am


  • SammyHammy April 9, 2010, 7:03 am

    That is a very old joke, but it is still cute.

  • Tanz April 9, 2010, 9:02 am

    And *that*, people, is a classic example of how silly coyness is.

  • kingsrings April 9, 2010, 10:06 am

    It’s very funny, but if it indeed is a joke or an urban legend and not a real story, shouldn’t it say so in the description?

  • Gloria Shiner April 9, 2010, 10:07 am

    I’ve heard this story numerous times, from lots of places, and always with very similar wording. I wonder if it’s true that that many people have actually done it, or if it’s an urban legend?

  • Mechtilde April 9, 2010, 11:28 am

    In urban legends, the incident usually happened to someone’s cousin, or friend of a friend, or grandmother’s cousin’s sister- not the person actually telling the story.

    And yes, I really can believe that this could happen.

  • Asharah April 9, 2010, 12:02 pm

    Do they actually refer to them as “napkins” anymore?

  • Tammy Buchli April 9, 2010, 1:05 pm

    I heard it first when I was in High School — in Teen Magazine. It was a one of the submissions in the “Was My Face Red” column. I have heard it a time or two since; so it probably is an urban legend. Funny, though!

  • Patty April 9, 2010, 2:25 pm

    This may be an urban legend, but it’s funny as heck!

  • Joannie81 April 9, 2010, 2:49 pm

    Urban legend or not I always love this one!

  • Lily April 9, 2010, 3:13 pm

    I don’t know too many 4-year olds I would let set the table for Thanksgiving! It’s listed as an urban legend on Snopes, but it’s still pretty funny.

  • phoenix April 9, 2010, 3:20 pm

    Lol, reminds me of the poor exchange student who was in my senior class at highschool. She was going around to a bunch of us whispering “do you have a napkin?” Took us awhile to figure out she needed a “sanitary napkin” since none of us had heard them called that before!

  • Kitty_ev April 9, 2010, 3:37 pm

    Urban legend or no, it gave me a much needed laugh today! Thank you for cheering me up!

  • Been There, Done That April 9, 2010, 4:01 pm

    Urban legend, or happened to many people? Could be either. I know my story is similar. I was at a theme park with my family, and my sister and I had to use the restroom. She was in the next stall, and told me she needed my help. “Will you please go ask Mom for a napkin?”

    My elementary school self looked around the booth, figured a napkin was for wiping up messes, and handed her my spare roll of toilet paper, under the booth wall.

    “No! I need a napkin!” So, I finished up, washed my hands, and then handed her paper towels under the stall door.

    “NOOOOO!!!! Look, just ask Mom for a napkin, will you?!”

    Finally, I went outside, where my parents were waiting right next to a popcorn vendor, who had paper napkins in a dispenser. PERFECT! Naturally, rather than bother my mother, who was involved in a conversation, I grabbed a few paper napkins, and headed back into the bathroom to an extremely frustrated (and hormonal) sister. Still, she told me to “ASK MOM” for a “napkin.” She was in tears by this time, and I was frustrated, too, because, doggonit, I was trying my best to help her! She was just SO hard to please.

    At last, I went and told my very confused mother that my sister kept asking for something to wipe up a spill or something, and nothing I gave her was good enough. My mother didn’t understand what the trouble was, until I mentioned the word napkin, and even then, it took a while to sink in, as she always just called them “pads,” and her first thought was dinner napkin, and why would she need one of those in a bathroom, in the morning? She, however, went to investigate and soon sorted it out, laughing merrily.

    My sister didn’t want to talk to me for a few hours after that. But she got her revenge. That night, in the hotel, I spotted some tell-tale blood, and panicked. She told me someone had stabbed her. BIG mistake. I went to fetch my father to chase down the burglar, and. . . Well, she was embarrased.

    Well, I finally got an education, and my sister finally forgave me, but it was tense the rest of that night.

    Coyness is silly, yes. And please, if you’re going to call them napkins, call them by their full name – feminine napkins. I would have asked what was the special about feminine napkins, and did they have masculine napkins, and did it have to be pink, but I would have gone to my mother for it and saved a lot of frustration.

  • Imissweekends! April 9, 2010, 8:30 pm

    http://www.snopes.com/embarrass/feminine/napkins.asp I remember reading this in Reader’s Digest years ago and would get embarrassed every time my mom would talk about napkins (the kind you eat with) thereafter – I had never heard pads called by that name before. 😉

  • Pixie April 9, 2010, 11:10 pm

    Probably an Urban Legend, but it still made me laugh!

  • PrincessSimmi April 10, 2010, 1:15 am

    That’s so adorable cute.

    I was about 3 when I first learnt to write my name. Mum and Dad had visitors coming over and I wanted to help too… so, I wrote my name. On the wall. In blue crayon, thre feet high, BACKWARDS.

    If you have kids, you have to expect the unexpected.

  • Tanz April 11, 2010, 1:34 am

    I’ve never heard the term ‘napkin’ applied to menstrual pads, and I’m in my 30’s . Perhaps it’s a regional thing, but my Mother and Grandmother have never heard the term either.

  • Mel April 12, 2010, 10:06 am

    They are (or used to be) called “sanitary napkins.” It said so right on the package. It’s not a regional thing.

  • Asharah April 12, 2010, 12:36 pm

    I think there’s another version of the original story. Family is having guests for dinner, Mom realizes at last minute they are out of napkins and sends kid to corner store, teling him to hurry. Kid tells clerk, “My mom needs napkins, it’s an emergency!” Clerk misinterprets what kind of napkin Mom urgently needs, kid rushes home and sets box on dining room table in front of all the guests!

  • Tanz April 12, 2010, 5:19 pm

    “They are (or used to be) called “sanitary napkins.” It said so right on the package. It’s not a regional thing.”

    It’s never said that on any package sold in my country. I checked 🙂

  • PrincessSimmi April 12, 2010, 9:24 pm

    Actually, now I look at the story, did anyone else notice this one doesn’t have a date at the end? I think it might just be the urban legend.

  • Jia April 16, 2010, 3:43 pm

    They used to be called sanitary napkins in the UK and Ireland.

  • Jakie-cAT April 16, 2010, 7:48 pm

    I have heard that before. Luckily never happened to me. I would`nt have been embarased though ,in my country you can talk about things like that without anyone even giving you funny looks!

  • Kendra Wastun April 25, 2010, 1:30 am

    My family has always called them “sanitary napkins”. My paternal grandmother felt calling them “pads” was vulgar. She also called the couch the “davenport”. I’ve been accused of sounding like her as I’ve gotten older. This is a cute story, true or not, and speaking of cute kid stories…. when my son was either 2 or 3, he is 18 now, he scribbled all over the front of my mom’s house with black magic marker. We were scolding him when be looks up at my mom with his big brown eyes and said, “But Grandma, it says’ Grandmas House.” I think he was 8 before she had the heart to have it painted over.

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