Interesting times we’re living now, but it should not be a surprise. Scientists have been warning for years about possible pandemics and how fast they can spread in a world where I can eat breakfast on one continent and dinner on another. History always foretells the future. Europeans brought diseases to the New World that decimated the indigenous peoples because they had no immunity. The 1918 Flu may have been a prelude to today. A lack of immunity is what helped us defeat the Martians, according to H.G. Wells in War of the Worlds.
Please, before you shoot me an angry email for not taking the current situation seriously, I do. I just don’t want humor to be a casualty of COVID-19. My wife and I are in the at-risk group, so we haven’t ventured out in the last two weeks except once to the pharmacy and the grocery store, and then it was only me. I took all the recommended precautions, which you can find at www.coronavirus.gov.
The site also provides other useful information. Practice social distancing; wash your hands often and try not to touch your face; stay at home if at all possible; absolutely stay at home if you’re sick and avoid contact with anyone in the home with you; avoid close contact with others, if you have to venture out; clean and disinfect.
Common sense can also be a casualty. When I did go to the pharmacy, I saw a young man of about 20 literally raking every roll of toilet paper into a buggy. I wanted to ask him why he felt the need to buy every roll. I last saw him arguing with the manager. I can only think of two reasons for his behavior. The first is he was buying in hopes of reselling at a profit. I’m a capitalist, but a person who would take advantage of others in a crisis is…well, this is a family newspaper so I can’t use that word, but you’ll understand.
As for the second reason, I asked a couple of psychologist friends (if there was anyone who needed psychologists in their life, it’s me). They said that some people revert to hoarding behavior in times of crisis. On a smaller scale, you see it anytime local weather forecasters say “snow.” Like magic, milk, bread, and eggs disappear. The same is true now with disinfectants, bleach, and the like. Neither of my learned friends could explain the toilet paper phenomenon.
This is where I appeal to your common sense. You don’t need 100 rolls of toilet paper. A family of four can’t possibly drink 10 gallons of milk before it expires. Are people bathing in hand sanitizer? If not, you don’t need to buy it all. The website above recommends cleaning and disinfecting, but it also points out that one-third cup of bleach mixed with one gallon of water is sufficient; therefore, a gallon of bleach should last a long time unless you’re scrubbing the entire house inside and out. And please, leave some eggs for the rest of us.
Another casualty is the economy. People are losing their jobs. Hopefully, sooner rather than later, they can go back to work. In the meantime, there will be trying times for many. Historically, in hard times, charities have suffered. Organizations that rely on donations need help now more than ever. If you give in good times, consider doing so in the bad, if you can.
The spirit of our ancestors lives within us. They came to this wild continent and hacked out not only a living, but also a prosperous country. They persevered through a war that pitted kin folk against each other, in the end giving us a country that was still not perfect, but better. They fought the First World War that was to be the war that ended all wars. It wasn’t, so we have people still among us who saddled up and, not only fought World War II, but endured rationing because of it. Also still living are some who can tell you about the hardships of the Great Depression.
We will get through this, maybe with some tears of sadness, maybe with some scars, but hopefully with some laughter as well. We will learn the depth of our resilience, and we will survive.
“We have always held to the hope, the belief, the conviction that there is a better life, a better world, beyond the horizon.”
-Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1941