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Rush to toilet paper

With a crisis we reach for our nearest comfort toy, in this case, toilet paper.

Rush to toilet paper

A pandemic is upon us. As a result, governments are telling us to isolate, or self-quarantine; bars, restaurants, libraries and schools are shuttered and all sporting events have, for the most part, been suspended. Borders are closed, planes are grounded, ferries cut back and cruise ships abandoned. At hospitals around the globe, the wheat is being separated from the chaff. If you’re over 70 and admitted for flu-like symptoms, you may get overlooked for those on the younger side of the life spectrum and it’s down to luck, not medicine, as to your survival (Editor’s note: this is not true in Canada).

People are rushing out to shopping centers and grocery stores all over the world in order to stock up and be prepared for the coming storm. The result of this mass hysteria, which usually breaks out among the herds at the first sign of any contagion, be it at a sporting event or a clearance sale, is all sense of common decency and congeniality has taken flight, as demonstrated in the outrageous disputes breaking out amidst the mad grab for what will help us in our life and death struggle against this viral outbreak — toilet paper!

The holocaustal rush on paper goods, as currently seen, has possibly demonstrated that when confronted with a crisis we reach for our nearest comfort toy, in this case, toilet paper. This stampede is reminiscent, albeit on a smaller scale, of the two deaths that occurred years ago on a Christmas Eve in Chicago. While shoppers were fighting over the last remaining Cabbage Patch dolls on the shelf at Walmart, two people were shot. And so, Americans are staying true to form and stocking up on what they know best — guns and ammunition — in order to ward off the bands of marauding looters who didn’t have the foresight to stock up on toilet paper and sanitary wipes while supplies were still available and may have the impetuosity to brave the gunfire and break through to a warehouse of personal supplies.

Nancy Hawker