The current crisis, in my mind, dates to Thursday, March 12. That particular day, at least in my socially distant location, the pandemic became a panic. Decisions were made to have employees work remotely. Zoom or Skype meetings were substituted for the face-to-face variety. Church services were cancelled. There was a run on toilet paper. This final aspect has me really vexed. Why toilet paper? Experts say if we kept to our usual buying habits there would be plenty for everyone, but the survivalist mentality kicked in and people began hoarding. If the apocalypse was coming, they wanted to go down fighting with clean underwear on. We were in Ithaca the next day to see my daughter. We ordered out from a local restaurant. When we got home we found a role of new toilet paper in the top of the bag.
According to my amateur dating technique, we’ve been in this state for 13 days now. Toilet paper, tissues, and paper towels are nowhere to be found. I looked on Amazon. They can get you toilet paper, but you’ll need to wait until May. Why? Ironically, because it’s being shipped from China. Yes, the nation where the pandemic erupted has toilet paper aplenty. Here in the greatest [sic] nation in the world, there’s none to be found. What does this tell us about a country that self-identifies as “Christian”? Whatever happened to “if someone demands your coat, give them your shirt also”? Or perhaps more to the point, “turn the other cheek”? How has a nation of Bible believers responded to a crisis? By becoming selfish. By stockpiling toilet paper.
I’ve spent a lot of time camping. I’m fairly comfortable with the ways of nature. Like most other people I prefer a nice, private restroom with all the accoutrements, but if bears can do it in the woods, why can’t we? I have my Boy Scout guide right here. But it suggests using toilet paper. If books could be ordered, I suspect How To Poop [this is the family friendly version] in the Woods would be a current bestseller. Trump says he wants everyone back to work by Easter, but the toilet paper ordered from Asia won’t even be here by then. And will offices have access to some secret stash that only those who buy in bulk can find? Hoarding makes any crisis worse, but this particular one seems especially mean spirited. It makes me realize just how great America has been made.