Did you ever think a roll of toilet paper would be considered an exchange item or part of a barter system because of its value?? As I viewed the shelves at the grocery stores here in town empty of toilet paper and hearing the same stories from kin in St. Paul and Las Vegas and Rapid City, I admit to being a little dumbfounded with it all. The least of things is now a necessity for survival. When I couldn’t get any the other day I got to think about Kleenex and paper towels (although friends warned me about plugging the plumbing (Caution)) and then my mind jumped to stories of the “old days” when the pages of the Sears Roebuck catalog served the purpose, according to my parents. Actually I do remember using outdoor facilities at the ranch and seeing a catalog available for the necessities. Toilet paper — who would have thought??!!
I remember reading about a book from 1722 called A Journal of the Plague Year. It was credited to Daniel Defoe (Robinson Crusoe) but there was some hesitation about actual authorship. It was written about the bubonic plague in Europe which made a run through Europe in the 1300s and 1400s and then again in the 1600s. The bubonic plague was caused by an abundance of rats and mice who carried ticks that led to the disease which is much different than what we have today. But a pandemic nonetheless, killing over a million people or so it is thought.
I am jotting down a few notes just when I experience something unique. My brother was shopping at Walmart in Las Vegas and said the shoppers were crazy. The majority of folks will not be quarantined. It might be wiser not to go out to eat as much as we normally do and the washing of hands has always been a wise habit. I can remember my mother saying, “Wash your hands when you come home from school or down town. You don’t know who has touched that.” I always wipe my grocery cart off and I am fussy about clean public rest rooms.
I guess it is all a matter of what you feel comfortable doing or not doing. Big hugs and constant handshakes, maybe not be so much anymore. “Discretion is the better part of valor.” The whole scenario which is playing out world wide is another wake-up call that life can turn on a dime. Where a few weeks ago we were all involved in a political election year, suddenly all that seems rather unimportant compared to being well or sick. It is also a good wake-up call for the federal government to not be “asleep at the wheel” when it comes to the wellbeing of all our citizens. Something like this creeps up and suddenly all bets are off not knowing what to expect or where this is going to go or when it will end. The Boy Scouts are right in their motto “Being prepared”. It is something we expect of our government — to be watchful and monitoring the world around us. Helping us deal with matters and issues we don’t understand or cannot control by ourselves. That is what we expect of our government, this is the role and function of government. This epidemic may influence governments around the world to a greater degree than we realize. Those in power had best tread carefully when the people speak.