The Life in My Years

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panic pan-ik
noun
a sudden overwhelming fear, with or without cause, that produces hysterical or irrational behavior, and that often spreads quickly through a group of persons or animals.

The daughter called while I was at the dog park.  Lexi circling a big eucalyptus tree and barking at a squirrel chattering at her, rodent trash talk from 30 feet up.
“I’m going to buy some toilet paper and sanitizer from Amazon.”
“Why?”
“Because people are hoarding them because of coronavirus. I was at Target the other day and the shelves were empty.”
“A WALMART THIS WEEKEND WAS COMPLETELY SOLD OUT (of hand sanitizer). ONLY ON HIS THIRD TRY WAS KEN SMITH ABLE TO FIND THE CLEAR GEL — AT A WALGREENS, WHERE THREE BOTTLES OF PURELL WERE LEFT. HE BOUGHT TWO,” said the Associated Press.
“I knew about the hand sanitizer but not about the toilet paper. I’m at the dog park now”
Lexi’s hopping up and down scratching at the tree, pissed that a rodent would have the chutzpah to invade her dog park.


“Once I leave the park I’ll stop by Foodmaxx and check out their stock. Let’s hold off for now.”
“Okay,” says the daughter, “and there’s also some price gouging.”
“THE GARMENT DISTRICT HARDWARE STORE THAT SELLS PURELL HAND SANITIZER FOR NEARLY $80 A BOTTLE WAS SLAPPED WITH A CITY FINE SATURDAY,” reported the New York Post.
“ON AMAZON… A PACK OF FOUR PURELL ADVANCED HAND SANITIZER GEL REFILLS WAS SELLING FOR $219.99, A BOX OF 12 WAS PRICED AT $215.52, AND A PACK OF TWO PURELL FOAM REFILLS WAS SELLING FOR $149.99.
A PURELL HAND SANITIZER DISPENSER, MEANWHILE, WAS PRICED AT $1,103.76,” said The Boston Herald.
Amazon responds and removes the offending sellers from it’s website.  I’m not convinced that Amazon’s motive was a morally driven one.  Suspect that they didn’t want the bad PR for allowing profiteering on their site.  My general rule is to not trust the motives of American business.  So, call me a cynic. “Okay, you’re a cynic.”

Of course there’s gouging. Good old laissez faire capitalism at its finest. What better road to a healthy bottom line than taking advantage of other people’s misfortunes and fears. In my estimation it’s just one step less reprehensible than looting, but just barely.  Used to be that looters were shot on site.  What about pirates capitalizing on a public health crisis?

CAPITALISM ATTACKS AND DESTROYS ALL THE FINER SENTIMENTS OF THE HUMAN HEART; IT RUTHLESSLY SWEEPS AWAY OLD TRADITIONS AND IDEAS OPPOSED TO ITS PROGRESS, AND IT EXPLOITS AND CORRUPTS THOSE THINGS ONCE HELD SACRED,  opined Daniel De Leon

Foodmaxx was stocked floor to ceiling with toilet paper and there were canned goods aplenty. I just assumed that there would be plenty of hand sanitizer – turns out I was wrong.
Forbes reports, “THE COVID-19 CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK HAS LED TO TOILET PAPER HOARDING AND SUBSEQUENT SHORTAGES IN STORES IN DIFFERENT PARTS OF THE WORLD, SUCH AS AUSTRALIA, SINGAPORE, HONG KONG, CANADA, AND THE U.S.”
Toilet paper? I must have missed something. Coronavirus attacks the respiratory system – doesn’t it? Does it give people the shits too? People are scared shitless.
BUT FEAR OF THE NEW CORONAVIRUS LED (a) 51-YEAR-OLD ATTORNEY TO RUN UP A HEFTY BILL AT THE LOCAL GROCERY STORE LAST WEEK ON EMERGENCY SUPPLIES. THAT INCLUDED 12 CANS OF DICED TOMATOES, 12 CANS OF CHILI BEANS, SOAP, AND SIX BOXES OF PASTA THAT HE SAYS SHOULD LAST HIM AND HIS FAMILY FOUR WEEKS,” said the article in Fortune.
“FAMILIES ARE BUILDING UP RESERVES TO ENSURE THEIR HOMES ARE ‘FIT FOR A PANDEMIC’ WITH SOME PURCHASING NEW CHEST FREEZERS TO FILL WITH FOOD” reports the Daily Mail.
You only need 14 days worth, say the experts.  Can someone explain that to the 51 year old attorney and the people buying chest freezers.  You’re preparing for a couple weeks of quarantine, not nuclear warfare.  Just a thought though, does 12 cans of chili beans explain the run on toilet paper?

“Foodmaxx has plenty of toilet paper but if you want to buy a couple of extra packs go ahead,” I said to Cora.
“Okay, I’m going to the store today.”

“A STUDY RELEASED THIS WEEK OF ABOUT 740 BEER DRINKERS IN THE UNITED STATES SHOWS THAT 38% OF THEM SAID THEY “WOULD NOT BUY CORONA [BEER] UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES NOW.” THEIR FEARS ARE LINKED TO THE CORONAVIRUS, THE RESPIRATORY ILLNESS THAT HAS INFECTED THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE AROUND THE GLOBE,” according to the Dallas Morning News.
“Can Corona beer really give you coronavirus?” I asked myself.
“No, you fool,” I responded, “But Corona beer can sure make you sick buddy. The symptoms vary.  Blurred vision, slurred speech, delayed reflexes, a bloated feeling and an urge to urinate a lot.  In more severe cases the patient may experience behavioural changes, from acting irrationally to episodes of violence. Vomiting and severe headache followed by feelings of self pity and regret are not uncommon and in very rare cases suicidal thoughts, “Oh god just kill me now.”   The best cure is bed rest in a dark room or a nostrum called ‘hair of the dog.’” None of this has anything to do with coronavirus.  Just don’t share a bottle and drink up someone’s backwash.
“So some Americans are stupid then?”
“Well in unrelated but somewhat relevant news.”
“A 2019 NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC SURVEY INDICATES THAT MERELY 37 PERCENT OF RECENT COLLEGE GRADUATES CAN IDENTIFY IRAQ ON A MAP, MOST FAILED TO IDENTIFY NORTH KOREA, ONLY ONE IN FOUR COULD IDENTIFY IRAN OR ISRAEL, AND AMONG AMERICANS AGES 18 TO 24, 6 PERCENT COULD NOT EVEN POINT TO THE UNITED STATES. IF YOU ARE AMONG THE 6 PERCENT, AND YOU ARE READING THIS, THAT’S WHERE YOU LIVE,” reported Salon. Yes Americans don’t know where their own soldiers have been dying for 19 years.  Be kind.  Just say that Americans are “uninformed.”

Reports the Washington Times, “FACE MASKS HAVE BECOME A HOT COMMODITY, SELLING OUT AT NUMEROUS PHARMACIES AND MEDICAL SUPPLY STORES, INCLUDING IN THE WASHINGTON AREA, BECAUSE OF FEARS OF CHINA’S CORONAVIRUS THAT IS SPREADING RAPIDLY ACROSS ASIA AND WORLDWIDE…A CVS STORE ON BLADENSBURG ROAD HASN’T HAD FACE MASKS IN STOCK FOR TWO WEEKS.”
Walking around San Francisco on a chilly Sunday I notice a multitude of masks, from bandanas to paper dust masks to surgical masks to N95 masks.
“THE CDC STILL DOES NOT RECOMMEND THAT AMERICANS NEED TO BUY OR WEAR MASKS IN PUBLIC SPACES, UNLESS THEY’RE ILL (SUSPECTED OF HAVING COVID-19), OR CLOSELY INTERACTING WITH THOSE WHO HAVE THE DISEASE…
ISAAC BOGOCH, AN INFECTIOUS DISEASE SPECIALIST AND PROFESSOR AT THE UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO, TOLD VOX’S JULIA BELLUZ. “BUT IF PEOPLE ARE UNINFECTED WEARING A LITTLE FLIMSY MASK, IT IS NOT GOING TO SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCE THEIR RISK OF ACQUIRING THIS INFECTION.” says a report from Vox.”
Thoughts of wearing a mask myself. I have a few dust masks laying around from when I did some sanding. I also have an old Bill Clinton Halloween mask from the 1990’s. Given that I’m healthy either of those masks will be about as useful as an N95.
And by the way, “I did NOT have sex with that woman.”

Lexi’s watching me pace back and forth in the kitchen, railing at her about the rampant corona consternation.  “I’m not going to get sucked up in the frenzy.  I refuse,” proclaiming to my confused dog.  She’s nervous and heads for the comfort of her crate.  Dad’s a little nuts now.  It’s not just a matter of principle, I’d like to think that I’m acting like any rational person should be acting.  But I’m ranting at a dog.

Flats of water and backup food in our garage. You know, canned stuff; green beans with green dye and tomatoes with red dye # whatever.  All loaded with preservatives. Food that has an atomic half life. There’s canned chili in the garage. Canned chili?   Cora are we okay on toilet paper?
The little stockpile isn’t a covid thing, it’s an earthquake thing here in the San Francisco area. There’s even the thousand or more in cash that I have tucked away but I didn’t set it aside as a precaution in the event that the ATMs go down in a 7.0 quake. No sir or ma’am, it’s my casino money but nonetheless it’s there in the event of the big one – or a straight flush – whichever comes first.

In other news The Hill reports,
“RECIPES FOR HOMEMADE SANITIZERS ARE ALL OVER THE INTERNET AS THE CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK SPREADS AND PEOPLE LOOK FOR WAYS TO PROTECT THEMSELVES. ALCOHOL IS THE MAIN INGREDIENT IN HAND SANITIZER AND SOME ARE SUGGESTING USING TITO’S VODKA.”
Hand sanitizer should be 60% alcohol. Tito’s is only 40% alcohol and when diluted with your favorite liquid soap the percentage is further reduced.
I suggest that if you suffer from coronavirus anxiety you should put your vodka to better use; self quarantine for a night, heat up a can of chili, put on a movie and take a healthy does of an elixir of Tito’s mixed with cranberry or other fruit juice.

A quick trip to the local Lucky supermarket for some random essentials and I took a quick look for alcohol or alcohol swabs. It was unlucky. The Lucky shelves, bare as a baby’s bum and my comment, “Oh well,” echoes through the empty racks.

And finally BREAKING NEWS!!
Just this morning CNN’s Kate Bolduan with that signature blonde bob stands in front of a screen displaying the words CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC in gigantic letters.
“Holy shit,” thinks I. We’ve gone to the next step.
What does the World Health Organization say? Nothing about a pandemic. It’s a CNN call.
“STARTING TODAY, YOU WILL NOTICE THAT CNN IS USING THE TERM PANDEMIC TO DESCRIBE THE CURRENT CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK. IT IS NOT A DECISION WE TAKE LIGHTLY. WHILE WE KNOW IT SOUNDS ALARMING, IT SHOULD NOT CAUSE PANIC,” explains Dr. Sanjay Gupta on the CNN website.
Should not cause panic?  You’re joking right doc? You might not have noticed but that panicked horse has already galloped out the barn and is way far down the road. Jumping the gun on the World Health Organization just put the spurs to that beast.
I remember the days when the main goal of the news, usually delivered by stodgy old white guys who grabbed a Camel during breaks, was to report events, not create them.

panic pan-ik
noun
a sudden overwhelming fear, with or without cause, that produces hysterical or irrational behavior, and that often spreads quickly through a group of persons or animals.
“Cora, when you go to the store stay away from the beer aisles and make sure you buy plenty of ramen noodles, canned veggies, Spam and a couple jugs of Tito’s Vodka.  Maybe some Hormel Chili too but don’t forget the toilet paper.”

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10 thoughts on “Corona Extra! Read All About It!

  1. Jane Fritz says:

    Too funny!! Finally someone who can explain the run on toilet paper, it’s the cans of Chili beans! Love it!!

    1. Paulie says:

      Thank you Jane. It may be tongue firmly in cheek but as you can tell I’m trying to make a point…get a grip.

  2. M.B. Henry says:

    LOL – you might be onto something with those chili beans…

    1. Paulie says:

      Nothing like a bowl of chili and a tumbler of Tito’s.

  3. Eat too much chili and beans you’ll be glad you bought that extra supply of toilet paper😷

    1. Paulie says:

      True that. Off topic but I found that Michelina’s mac and cheese mixed with Hormel chili is actually pretty good…I’m ashamed to say.

  4. To cope with the present crisis, I watched Outbreak last night. Maybe I’ll watch The Andromeda Strain next.

    1. Paulie says:

      I actually thought about Andromeda Strain the other night. I’m the only one in the family who has seen it.

  5. Some patients with the new coronavirus experienced nausea, vomiting and diarrhea prior to developing the fever and persistent cough. So maybe the toilet paper grab isnt such a bad idea after all.
    I tried to get my son and daughter-in-law to evacuate to our home in New Zealand but they are sitting things out in San Francisco.
    This is going to get a lot worse before things return to anything like normal. Be vigilant, stay safe, look after one another.

    1. Paulie says:

      Here’s a true toilet paper story. I have a friend who is a firefighter. He got off a 4 day shift and went to the store to get some essentials, toilet paper among them. The shelves were empty and so he got in the checkout line with whatever he could find. A woman in the line had 6 packs of toilet paper – 144 rolls. He remarked to his children, loud enough for the woman to hear, “Now we know why there’s no TP.” She looked at him with the “Whatever, it sucks to be you” expression. If one assumes that a family goes through one roll a day (and who uses that much?) that’s still almost a 5 months supply. One roll every two days is 9 months worth.
      We have a friend who is out of toilet paper and can’t find any to buy so she’s down to asking friends.
      I don’t know how this started but it trickled down from the hysterical to reasonable people who find themselves compelled to over buy out of necessity. And it isn’t just TP. No milk, no eggs, no meat, no frozen juice, many frozen foods are sold out. The actions of the selfish have started a frenzy.
      Finally, two weeks too late, the stores are restricting quantities on items that were being hoarded but it’s going to take time for the shelves to be restocked.

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