Monthly Archives: March 2020

Tinkling and the Coronavirus

My wife and I have been practicing social distancing – she stays on her side of the house and I stay on mine.  Also, other than the essential trip to Walmart or Dollar General, we have done our part to stay home and Shelter-in.  However, today we had to go on a little adventure to Jackson to pick up our two youngest grandsons who had been visiting their other grandparents in the Delta.  I call it an adventure since after 45 years of marriage my wife and I have a common calling when we travel – neither of us is capable of passing too many roadside parks, convenience stores, or fast food restaurants without pulling in for a biological pit-stop.  Most folks these days straight out say, “We gotta pee.” However, I am a bit old-fashioned and such language, especially in mixed company, in my opinion, is just not becoming of a lady or a gentleman.  Therefore, we say things like “It’s time for a pit-stop,” “Stop when you can, I have to tinkle,” or “Honey, it’s time to pull over; I need to see a man about a dog.”  We are polite that way.  Unfortunately, in these trying times of curve leveling social distancing and closures, when it comes to basic essentials such as going potty, as a nation, we have lost our daggum minds!

A grave situation that kick started the Coronavirus in our area was the sudden disappearance of toilet paper, so we prepared for the trip by carrying a 12-roll package of toilet paper in the back seat of the truck in case there was a shortage at our destination.  Little did we dream toilet paper would be the least of our problems.   Our dilemma unfolded when we discovered public restrooms between our home and the rendezvous point were padlocked!  Now, anyone who knows anything about traveling by automobile knows the number one reason for rest stops is not to rest, the number one reason for convenience stores is not to buy Twinkies, and the number one reason for fast food restaurants is not their gourmet menu!  The number one reason rest areas and businesses exist along our nation’s highways is they are crucial havens for us poor groin scrunching, eyeball floating souls whose bladders have shrunk with age to the size of a pea.

After an hour and a half on the road, we stopped at a convenience store outside Jackson with one thing on our minds, and it wasn’t the grandkids.  We walked into the store cool and calm, and my wife headed straight to the back where a sign read “ESTROOMS.”  I, on the other hand, tend to be a bit self-conscious about using a business’s restroom without purchasing something – gas, candy, or a maybe a Twinkie.  Therefore, I casually meandered up and down the isles picking up and putting down candy bars and Twinkies like I had intentions of making a purchase.  As soon as I was convinced no one was paying attention to me, I tucked my chin against my chess, locked my inner thighs around my groin, and did the Chinese hustle to the back of the store.

My wife was standing outside the “estroom” door pointing to a small sign with one hand and wiping a tear with the other – “Closed for Coronavirus,” the sign said.  I don’t know which was worse, seeing the lost pained look on her face, or my own discomfort, but if not for the padlock, I am quite sure I would have ignored the sign and gone about my business.  I have been in enough single pot public restrooms in my lifetime to know the Coronavirus would have been out of its league against the crud already crawling under the toilet seat and swimming in urine puddles on the floor.  Besides, the chances are good if a person travels a good deal by automobile and has yet to catch a fungus, disease, or rash from a public restroom, they most likely will not, so the lock on the door made absolutely no sense to me!  I repeat – we have lost our daggum minds!

So, out the door we scrambled, hopped into the truck, and headed towards a Wendy’s billboard directing us to drive north for a “Four for $4” value meal.  Pre-Coronavirus, Wendy’s and McDonald’s were our “go to” emergency on the road restroom stops , but this time, except for the drive through, Wendy’s was locked down tighter than Fort Knox.  We were now in deep dodo!  I told my wife I remembered a couple of side roads back a piece before we arrived in the suburb of Jackson that possibly had a tree or stump where . . . .  “Find me a tree!” she interrupted with a scream throwing her seat belt aside and drawing into quivering fetal position against the door.

I whipped around the “No U-turn” sign in front of a Sonic Drive-In and headed south pass Richland High School.  Have you ever asked yourself why your mind goes where it goes in such moments of mental and physical despair?  I was dodging in and out of traffic trying to find a tree, a building, or anyplace that would provide an ounce of privacy.  Visions of waterfalls, oceans waves, and foaming water churning down mountain rapids sloshed cruelly through my head shooting knives into my nether regions.  The end was near when miraculously a blue building appeared in my peripheral vision.  Walmart!

On two wheels, I jerked the truck onto the service road, which was out of service for paving.  Knocking over orange cones, I jumped the curb and bounced into the parking lot racing to the front of the store.  My wife yelled, “Let me out!”  The look in her eyes said I would die if I didn’t, so I skidded the truck sideways through the loading zone.  She was out of the truck and racing through the front door before I could fully stop.  Finding a nearby parking space, I skidded into place, jumped from the truck, and ran towards the Walmart Market door.  It was not a pretty sight.  If you have ever tried to run with your buttocks squeezed tight, you know what I mean.

Inside the store, focusing on the most beautiful blue and white sign I had ever seen – “RESTROOMS,” I raced past the front cashiers and customer service .  I looked up, and there was my wife, a beautiful glow of relief on her face, as she signaled me towards the restrooms like an air traffic controller bringing in a distressed plane for a landing.  I passed an old woman helped by an older man with a cane.  I heard her say as I rushed by, “He’s either scared his wife has his wallet, or he has to pee.”  Once in the restroom, I don’t know how many times I said, “Thank you God for Walmart!” but it was probably at least thirty or forty times.  I have never been so relieved in my life.

We picked up the grandkids shortly afterwards and returned home without further incident.  However, we learned our lesson, and until this crisis is over, we are staying put.  At least at home, we can tinkle gracefully without fear of messing up the upholstery.

©Jack Linton, March 29, 2020

Crusading and Finger Pointing in a Time of Crisis

We are in the midst of the biggest health and economic crisis of our lifetime, but there are still people using Facebook to post their political agendas, political finger pointing, hatred and bigotry, and their false sense of superiority over their neighbor.  I am talking about both Republican and Democrat supporters, conservatives and liberals, as well as Christians and self-proclaimed do-gooders!  I for one do not give a rip about anyone’s political preferences or conservative or liberal views, especially during this time of crisis. There may be a time for those views, but now is certainly not the time.

With the current crisis, the last thing we need is finger pointing and disingenuous religious posturing.  Pointing fingers of blame and citing scripture followed by arrows of hate and ridicule of neighbors does nothing but deepen the divide in our fragmented country.  To get through this crisis, we need to do something that has become quite rare for Americans – work together.  There is enough blame for everyone to share without the petty constant reminders on Facebook.  For those who don’t believe it, look in the mirror.

Every day, I see people post comments and memes seeking God’s intervention, and then turn around in their next post and spit out hate and disdain for neighbors who believe differently or support a different lifestyle.  It is time we get real about being human beings and start acting like we care about one another!  In these troubling times, how can so many pray for God’s intervention while refusing to extend a hand of compromise, peace, and love to their neighbor?  They may be fooling themselves and others, but they are not fooling God.

If people want others to believe their Christian posts, they need to start acting like a Christian when they post.  I have the utmost confidence Christ is neither a Republican or a Democrat, and it is highly doubtful he appreciates the hateful rhetoric some people consistently spew forth on Facebook.  Crusading against your fellow man does not make a person a better Christian – it certainly does not speak well of Christianity.

If it is necessary to toss anything at a neighbor perceived as an enemy, why not try a prayer rather than ugly, heartless, and mean-spirited language?  That takes no more effort while possibly healing our division and enabling us to work together as human beings truly concerned for each other’s worth and preservation.  God bless our little Southern pea-picking hearts, in these troubling times, we can certainly use all the support and prayers we can muster even when our actions so often prove we are not deserving of God’s grace and healing touch.

JL

©Jack Linton, March 20, 2020

THIS IS WHY WE MUST ISOLATE FOR THE COVID-19 VIRUS!

Earlier today I posted my observations and questions concerning the COVID-19 virus.  My intent was not to minimize the severity of the situation or to imply the virus was less than real.  At the time, I felt I had legitimate questions concerning the virus, and I was asking for clarification.  As I hoped, I have many friends much smarter and better informed than I am, and they did a superb job of answering my questions and providing resources that helped shed light on my concerns.  Although there were many great responses, the following exchange was the most enlightening for me:

FRIEND: “CDC tracking in the US is essentially worthless because essentially we’ve not been testing. We don’t have the data to know how many cases there are/have been. The reason we all need to isolate is because that’s how an epidemic is stopped in the absence of vaccines. Until that vaccine is developed (~18 months) it’s essential to minimize the rate of infections. An awful lot of us are going to get it, but if we all get it at more or less the same time, many more will die. The deaths aren’t just of the elderly – it looks like ~2% of deaths are of under 60s. If you have a million cases, that’s 20,000 deaths.”

ME: “I guess I have been hearing it, but it did not register until you said “in the absence of vaccines.”  If I am not mistaken, with most other viruses, there were vaccines available or available in short order, but that is not the case with COVID-19.  Therefore, our nation’s response to the virus makes much more sense in that light.”

Folks, the bottom line is THERE IS NOT A VACCINE for the COVID-19 virus!  Currently, our only line of defense is to isolate, and such action should not be minimized by me or anyone else.  We cannot afford to take chances with the lives of our loved ones or our own lives.

Thank you, to everyone who responded to my post, and especially those who set me straight and provided resources for my further education in this matter.  It is going to take a community presence both physically and online to support and guide each other through these dark days, but we can always find light if we are willing to look for it in each other.

Take care of yourselves and each other. Together we will overcome this crisis.

JL

©Jack Linton, March 18, 2020

AM I THE ONLY ONE WITH QUESTIONS ABOUT COVID-19?

AM I THE ONLY ONE WITH QUESTIONS ABOUT COVID-19?
Observations and Questions about COVID-19:
Observation #1: According to the CDC at least 12,000 Americans will die from the flu in any given year. As many as 61,000 people died in the 2017-2018 flu season, and 45 million were infected. However, until the Coronavirus, there has never been a nationwide shutdown to curb the spread of the flu.
Question #1: Not wishing to minimize the seriousness of COVID-19, but the question is why the seemingly overboard response to a disease with a fraction of the cases and mortality rate of previous flu epidemics and/or pandemics? Why is this strand of the flu more dangerous than all the other strands combined? The numbers do not add up. What am I and I dare say the general public missing?
Observation #2: Looking at the CDC tracking of the Coronavirus, most of the deaths in the United States have been elderly with many having existing medical conditions prior to infection by the virus.
Question #2: Why is the isolation effort not geared toward the high risk, the elderly, rather than shutting down the whole country? Why is this virus a greater threat to the American people than other viruses that have infected hundreds of thousands and killed thousands more than COVID-19? Why should people be more frightened by this virus than other viruses that have killed thousands in past years. Again, not wanting to minimize the seriousness of the present situation, but the numbers do not add up.
Observation #3: There has been a nation wide effort to socially isolate the nation against the virus – numbers in gatherings have been minimized, businesses closed, travel restricted, etc. However, there are millions of homeless on the streets where life goes on as usual in less than sanitary conditions.
Question #3: Due to lack of medical care, unsanitary conditions, and open exposure to the elements, has there been a significant increase in the mortality rate of the homeless? If not why not when they are exposed to the two most widely agreed causes of the virus – exposure to others and lack of sanitation?
The COV!D-19 should not be taken lightly, but the numbers do not add up to support the panic and national shutdown! Or, do they? Somebody please enlighten me.
JL