Oh the roller coaster we’ve ridden, from sweeping high above the rooftops to circling perilously into the depths far below. News is constantly reframing reality or making us mad when idiots push politics just to blame others. What’s wrong with these people? Then, out of the blue, we’ve laughed inside and smiled out loud at the toilet paper comedy in the midst of a crisis.
Last week trying to clarify a common falsehood circulating on social media and in political circles, I found myself being sucked into an argument with someone in Seattle I didn’t even know! The crisis is getting to all of us. After sleeping on it, I posted an apology the next morning.
The crisis has panicked investors into crashing the strongest bull market the world has ever seen. Why? Probably for the same reason people have been frightened into buying toilet paper for life. Maybe not. So, what’s up with the run on toilet paper? The TP panic has been a source of comic relief mixed with the clarity of need for basic hygiene. Feels like we’re back in Junior High again.
The more reasonable among us are medical folks who have been reminding us to do what our mothers always told us to do. CDC.gov offers steps to prevent illness, what to do if we get sick, and the latest information about Coronavirus Disease 2019. Above all, don’t panic.
Obviously, no one in the news business has followed that last bit of advice. Au contraire, news people are all about … news, the latest, greatest, smoking gun, and the ultimate scoop of the century naming who’s to blame for the crisis. Life in the fast lane! These days the fast lane runs through Washington, D.C., the center of power, intrigue, and more leaks than a screened-in submarine. It’s a competition between right and wrong, and good and evil. But more importantly it’s all about winning by any means and at any cost.
What does this ball of confusion say about us? Who are we really? What have we become? Why can’t we get along? Why can’t we even agree to work together for the good of all when attacked by a common pestilence? What’s more important than helping fellow human beings in need when we can?
Stop panicking. Stop blaming. Settle in to our nation’s strategy of social distance, i.e. maintaining minimum contact with and exposure to others for a relatively brief period of time, whether for two weeks or for a month or more. Keeping the numbers of those infected as low as possible for as long as possible is key to ending this crisis as soon as possible with as few deaths as possible.
Share resources with those in need. Schools provide meals for many children as well as safe places while parents work. Those who need help feeding children need to ask for help, and those who can help should help without exposing themselves to infection unnecessarily. Put food into a box or sack and deliver it to the door. Or, put the food outside your own door and invite those in need to come get it. Or, ask a neighbor to help with the exchange. Let’s communicate together to help those in need.
Above all else don’t panic, and share the toilet paper.
Daniel L. Gardner is a syndicated columnist who lives in Starkville, MS. You may contact him at PJandMe2@gmail.com.