It’s amazing what a few short weeks can do — I recently wrote about the new strain of coronavirus, COVID-19, and how it really wasn’t going to be the end of the world.
Fast-forward to today. Apparently, the world really is going to end. At least, that is what the somber talking heads on every TV channel would have you believe.
School districts are extending their Spring Break by an extra week and the Texas Education Agency is warning that schools could be closed for the rest of the school year. The governor on Monday waived the requirement for students to take the State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness test for the 2019-2020 academic year.
People are asked to stay at home and telework if possible. Stay away from gatherings of more than 10 people. Businesses are being asked to cut the number of maximum occupants in their buildings by half.
Cities and towns throughout the state are announcing that gyms and bars will be closed and restaurants will only be allowed to run drive through or delivery operations.
The economic impact on these industries could be devastating, to say the least.
You would think it was the Dark Ages and the bubonic plague was getting ready to wipe out 60% of the population.
But there is something that bugs me about the panicked populace: Between deciding which “Mad Max” style outfit they are going to wear after the apocalypse occurs, they are wiping out the shelves of certain items at local grocery stores.
One of the most glaringly empty spots? Toilet paper aisles.
I don’t get why people feel the need to stock up on a two-year supply of toilet paper, but not at least a two-week supply of food. Do they plan on ordering bean burritos and supreme nachos three times a day until the pandemic ends and expect to go through a dozen rolls a day?
These are probably the same people who whip through traffic at 90 mph with complete disregard for the safety of others. If so, you’d think they’d be more worried about dying in a vehicle accident than from explosive diarrhea.
Granted, it’s not just the toilet paper. Disinfectants, hand sanitizer, hand wipes and water are other items flying off the shelves like a cat who just heard a can opener.
You would think soap would be on that list. After all, simply washing your hands often is a much better deterrent. And while it may seem shocking, you can actually drink the same water you use to wash your hands.
So if you don’t mind, start thinking of others — especially the elderly who might need those items way more than you do.
And quit buying all the toilet paper — a clean derrière won’t keep the dreaded coronavirus away.
David A. Bryant is an Army retiree and a military journalist for the Killeen Daily Herald. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 254-501-7554.