You head to the outhouse, only to find someone has used up the toilet paper without replacing it. It’s inhuman, you snarl. And at Deborah Pero’s Panache Lake camp, you’d be correct: The culprits really are inhuman. “I blame the squirrels and possibly the mice,” Pero says. “I think they were taking the toilet paper for their nests. They’d always chew off about a half-inch on the outside of the roll.”
Pero halted the privy piracy by rolling a thin acrylic cutting board into a tube and taping it, and then sliding the toilet roll onto the tube. Next, she ran a length of dog chain through the tube, strung the chain on a carabiner, and hung it from a nail on a roof truss. The result is a pendulum-like toilet paper holder that’s been thwarting thieves since 2008. “I’m known as the MacGyver in my family,” Pero boasts. But surely she’s selling her problem-solving skills too short: Did the quick-thinking TV character ever face a villain as nefarious as a red squirrel?