There are no official records, but we’ll go ahead and say it: More man hours were put into cleaning Toomer’s Corner last season than any season in Auburn history. The toilet paper was thicker, and it was flung farther—Kenny Smith mapped it—and more often.
But even if the Tiger’s win only half their games in 2011, the cleanup crew responsible for the task will almost certainly spend even more time restoring the corner to pre-ply normalcy than it did last year thanks to Auburn University’s insistence that toilet paper now be removed from the damaged Toomer’s Oaks by hand, not by hose.
“We’ve had meetings [with Auburn] and yes, it’s a whole new ballgame,” said Dan Lawless, area manager for Rite Way, a Montgomery-based commercial janitorial service Auburn University has contracted with for more than a decade to de-toilet paper Toomer’s Corner after Auburn football victories. “We’re going to be removing it by hand, so it’s going to be much more labor and time consuming, but we’re going to have to figure it out and protect the trees as best we can.”
Lawless said that last year an average cleanup—after an average game—took 8 to 10 workers approximately 14 hours. “But then the momentum started building, and I mean, for the national championship game, it took two or three days, probably because people wouldn’t stop rolling.”
Or spreading out—last year toilet paper was routinely found stretching from Toomer’s Corner all the way to Samford Hall, and as far down the Magnolia Avenue edge of campus as Arby’s. The university recently asked fans to restrict rollings to the immediate vicinity of Toomer’s Corner.
Lawless said that will help save time, though in the grand, new scheme of things, not by much.
“We’ve got a game plan as far as lifts and getting up there and doing it by hand,” he said. “But until we do it the first time, we won’t know how long it’ll take”—or whether traffic will be affected.
“I’d have to say that’s a possibility,” he said, “But we’ll just have to see how it goes. It’s a whole new beast.”
Photo by George Thomas.
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