I find it interesting that my first awareness about the coming virus situation was the run on toilet paper (pardon the pun). Visiting the grocery store and seeing the empty shelves made me wonder, was I missing something? Why did everyone want or need so much toilet paper? I couldn’t make the connection between the TP hysteria and an oncoming epidemic.
Thankfully, the experts on television and radio were on hand to explain what the panic buying was all about. According to the experts, during a natural disaster such as this, people find comfort when they are able to “control” something, control anything. An ability to purchase TP, for instance, brings comfort into an unstable situation. To me, that explanation seemed a little dubious. Then my mother explained that if you are confined or self-quarantined for weeks at a time, you’ll be glad you bought extra. Maybe so. But again, that explanation seemed lacking IMHO (in my honest opinion).
If I need to stock up on things, let them be items worthy of stockpiling. Things such as Blue Bell ice cream, Double Stuf Oreos, Cheetos, Eggo Waffles. Really all the major food groups. These are the things that would help me be prepared for a lengthy home stay.
Looking back at the toilet paper scare -- ironically, TP was first used in China of all places. China, the first to build such a great wall (how envious are we?) and, also, the first to use TP. Thus, the Chinese are tied to both the beginning of Coronavirus AND toilet paper. Apparently, those Chinese get you coming and, well, going.
According to my sources, one tree can produce about 200 rolls of TP. I don’t know what kind of tree. I would guess pine or some other soft wood. That makes sense to me.
But what if you were caught at the tail-end of the are the alternatives when you toilet paper panic buying, what find yourself without? There are many alternatives out there. You can research them but just to name a few, the use of bidets is commonplace in Europe and parts of Asia. Some bidets are quite simple in design and use. Others are high-tech marvels that exhibit modern design and engineering at its finest. I could go either way...
And don’t forget about newspapers. Turns out this article may actually be good for something! So, don’t waste it. Hoard it along with your Cheez-its and Mike and Ikes.
If I had to select a face to identify with this virus, it would have to be that of Mr. George Whipple. He, of course, was the fictional grocery store manager in the long-running Charmin TP television ads and commercials (“Please don’t squeeze the Charmins.”). Sadly, Mr. Whipple is now gone. But, were he still alive, I’m sure he would’ve appreciated the value we all have placed on his beloved product during this time of difficulty. And regarding the virus: This too shall pass. Ooohh, now I get it.
Johnny McNally is Grimes County’s Best Dressed Businessman advocating for Grimes County.