Starring my alter ego from the future, Grandma Daisy!
Oh, yes, children, it was more than just the flu. Not that the flu wasn’t serious – did I tell you about the year my brother had influenza? Oh, wait, the pandemic. It was called a novel (as in new) coronavirus (as in an illness that can cause severe upper respiratory symptoms). Eventually, a scientist named it Covid19, but many of us still called it the coronavirus.
The president tried to calm the masses, but it didn’t work. He’d created stories and twisted truths so many times we didn’t believe him when he said, “Don’t worry, be happy.” Oh, wait, that was Bobby McFerrin. The prevaricator in the White House just told the citizens that the new germ was “No Big Deal.” Uh-huh. Yeah, right. Sure, man. We didn’t buy it for a moment.
People who called themselves preppers, those who stocked up and prepared for long term emergencies, were all set. Prepper wannabes panicked. Massive warehouse stores had their parking lots full of unhappy hoarders with pallets full of bottled water and (you guessed it) toilet paper. Why toilet paper? Well, kiddos, in a crisis, everyone still needs to use the rest room. Maybe it felt good to carry those cases of TP out to the pickup truck and strap them down. Caring for the family, they were, with enough toilet paper to … choose your metaphor or idiom here, folks.
In the office where I worked, we started joking about toilet paper. A sense of humor came in handy, even though there truthfully wasn’t much to inspire laughter. The big college basketball tournament, March Madness, was cancelled. Maybe the arenas ran out of toilet paper! Universities told students to go home for spring break and stay home. Did the dorms run out of toilet paper? Public school districts cancelled events for more than 250 people. Oh, dear, I suppose that was too many people for the toilet paper supply.
You get the idea. All of these closings were a big, big deal. Cancelling face to face classes at the universities and moving to online or correspondence delivery of courses was huge. I heard from a bird (no, from a reliable source) that my school district had administration meetings daily with updates. We were quite tense, all of us. The implications were huge, despite our status as an online, not face to face, school.
Toilet paper. La Petite messaged us from the big city of Milwaukee that people were panicking and the store shelves were empty of – toilet paper. My cousin who lives out west posted pictures of shoppers loading huge quantities of the fine tissue into their big honkin’ trucks.
The only thing missing? A country song, of course! How’s this for a title? “The Crapstorm called Covid19”! I can just hear the refrain. Maybe. Oh, well, this one didn’t really happen. But folks did get scared, and they reacted by buying toilet paper. Really.
So, children, the story goes on. We referenced the Spanish flu of 1919, the influenza epidemic of 1957, and even H1N1, the new flu of 2009. But the novel coronavirus, Covid19, was a story of its own. More later, dearies.