Author Archives: jlinton77

A COVID-19 Conspiracy Video:  America’s Frontline Doctors

Recently a video was posted on Youtube and elsewhere online depicting a conference of frontline doctors dealing with the COVID-19 virus.  The video was a promotion for alternative treatments for the virus such as hydroxychloroquine, and how the public is being denied such lifesaving drugs.  The video was pitched as lifesaving information that would soon be taken down by Youtube, so if you wanted to see it, you had to watch it immediately.  I highly suspect such hype was a tactic to entice people to watch a video that ordinarily would have drawn little fanfare.  Indeed, the video was removed from Youtube, but it was easily accessed elsewhere online, so I am confident the intended audience had ample opportunity to see it.

I watched the whole video (3 hours) with touches of confusion, frustration, and disbelief. If I were to believe the video, the government and other dark conspirators are out to get us.  The doctors on the video claimed there are treatments and cures for COVID-19, but the miracle drugs are being withheld from the American people.  Is this true?  I have no idea, but I doubt it, and a couple of outright eye popping false statements in the video made me doubt it even more.  Of course, that is my opinion, but after watching the video, I believe my opinion to be as valid, even more so, than many of the opinions stated or implied in the video.

However, opinion is opinion, so look close at my reactions to the video below to see where my objections fall and decide for yourself:

Responses to the video – America’s Frontline Doctors:

  1. Does Hydroxychloroquine and the over the counter asthma treatment mentioned work?
    1. Some doctors swear by these treatments (the four or five in the video for example) while the greater majority of doctors say no they do not work. In fact, most doctors agree hydroxychloroquine may cause dangerous side effects for some people.  It doesn’t seem to have harmed the President though, but I guess, who you believe depends on who you want to believe;
    2. Who is right? Who knows!  It depends on the source you are watching or reading and whether you lean to the left or to the right.  The only sure bet is whatever source you rely on is most likely biased one way or the other, and people are not getting the whole story or anywhere near the truth whatever it might be.  Therefore, the best advice is to err on the side of caution;
  2. False Statement:  The video stated, “Children do not die from COVID-19.” According to the most recent CDC data, this is a false statement.  Initially very few children and young adults died from the virus, but the numbers have been increasing steadily.  For example, in February and March, COVID-19 cases involving children showed 13 cases per 100,000 population while as of July 23 COVID-19 cases involving children showed 379 cases per 100,000 population.  Also, as of July 23, there were 288,287 children who had tested positive with COVID-19.  Of those children, 500+ died between May 21 and July 23 from COVID-19;
  3. False Statement:  The video stated, “Children are essentially immune to it (COVID-19).” This is another false statement from the video.  The CDC numbers above show over 280,000 children have tested positive for the virus and over 500 have died.  That hardly sounds like immunity to me;
  4. Is denying Americans access to drugs such as hydroxychloroquine a part of a bigger conspiracy against the American people?
    1. If there is a conspiracy, two things would have to be in place:
      • President Trump would have to be in on the scam. I am not a fan of President Trump, but if he knew of such a scam, I believe he would have let the cat out of the bag by now with one of his many tweets; or
      • President Trump would have to be an unknowing puppet with someone else pulling the strings. I do not care for the President’s demeanor or lack of Presidential class, but I do not believe he is anybody’s puppet;
    2. If there was a government conspiracy, why have members of the President’s White House staff become infected with the virus? Wouldn’t they be immune?  If the President can obtain treatments such as hydroxychloroquine, surely, those miracle treatments are available to his staff as well, so there should be zero infections in the White House.  However, maybe government is as clueless about the virus as the rest of us;
    3. If there is a conspiracy and it is linked to a vaccine, what is the endgame?
      • SOMEBODY IS GETTING RICH or RICHER: Pharmacists refusing to fill prescriptions – why?  Who has ordered them not to?  Government?  Big insurance companies?  Medical profession?  Economically, it makes no sense unless it benefits the pharmaceutical companies.  However, the US government has already ordered 100,000,000 doses of the vaccine when it is ready and will order another 200,000,000 doses after the first run is filled, so the pharmaceutical companies have essentially received their money and future money up front.  Therefore, there is no need for them to drive vaccine prices up by stalling treatment.  The American people will not be charged anything for the vaccine, so they have little more to gain.  Therefore, if it is some sort of financial scam to make the big guys richer, it would most likely involve not only the pharmaceutical companies but implicate the President as well, which I doubt in both cases;
      • MASS EXTERMINATION: Some conspiracy theorists have suggested the vaccine will thin out the population, but why?  To whose advantage?  Who gains by mass extermination of the population?  It certainly would not benefit either capitalism or a move toward socialism.  Economically there would be nothing to gain unless the exterminators could isolate and safeguard the key millions of people it would take to rebuild the country and its economy; or maybe
      • BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING: Some have suggested the vaccine is a means of injecting microchips to track American citizens.  This is highly doubtful.  The government whether left or right knows everything about each American citizen without the need of a biologically implanted microchip.  The government and big business track every American citizen by his/her driver license, social security number, credit cards, debit cards, membership cards, bank statements, and cell phone, etc.  They track buying habits every time an order is placed at Walmart or online.  They know everything worth knowing about every individual on the grid, so they do not need to cause controversy by inserting a microchip into human bodies.  Anyone who has ever applied or has possession of a credit card or any other card linked to them personally is already in their data banks – data collection is one reason it is so easy to get a credit card.  Our lives are encrypted data belonging to the government and big corporations.  As citizens, everything we do is available for scrutiny if or when the government and the business moguls desire.  They do not need to implant anything to learn all they need to know about citizens; and
  5. I am not saying the remedies supported in the video do not work – I do not know, but there is a reason these remedies have not been made available to the public.  I find it hard to believe as stressed as the medical profession is with the number of COVID-19 patients being treated every day, any doctor, much less thousands of doctors, would ignore treatments that could effectively reduce that stress and save lives.  I highly suspect if hydroxychloroquine and the asthma treatment mentioned in the video truly saved lives there would be many thousands of doctors standing up and saying so.  After all, these are family men and women who are placing themselves and their families in jeopardy everyday they go to work to treat patients.  They are not going to fool around with conspiracies when it comes to the lives of their children.

As for the virus being a conspiracy “to get” American citizens, resurrect a new world order, or help Joe Biden win the Presidency, there is no reasonable proof to suggest these are anything but fanciful fears of people living in desperate times.  It is doubtful anyone or anything other than our fears are lurking in the shadows to get us.  How do I know?  I don’t.  There are only five things I reasonably know for sure:

  1. I can complain and worry until the cows come home, and it will not change a thing;
  2. If I want change, I need to vote for change – voting is the tool for change in America;
  3. I need to wear a mask when I go out to help control the spread of the virus;
  4. I am certain we will get through this, but it will most likely be months after the November election, so I do not foresee a quick end; and
  5. I and most Americans are our own worst enemy in all of this. We tend to give credibility where there is no credibility, which causes additional stress and worry in an already hectic time.

Of course, all this apart from the CDC data is my opinion, but I dare say my opinion is probably far less biased than anything that can be found on Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, or Youtube.  Like everything else in our present day world, everything is opinion – the news, our conversations, and our very existence, so feel free to disagree.  Neither one of us may be right about anything, but that is food for another conspiracy.

JL

©Jack Linton, July 28, 2020

This is Who I am

This Father’s Day I thought about my father more than usual.  Maybe, it was the day, or maybe, it was all that is going on in the world, but he was on my mind throughout the day.   My father would have been uneasy with the protests even though he would have agreed in the principles of equality and justice for which the protestors marched.  However, he would not have understood or agreed with those who rely on vandalism and violence as their voice – to him property represented the sweat and sacrifice of men who like him came from nothing to make something of themselves, but he would have kept to himself and said little.  He preferred to keep to himself, but if pushed, he would let it be known where he stood and follow it up with a “I don’t give a rat’s ass” if someone disagreed with him.  He figured if he had to agree with a person just to get them to like him, to be cool, to be a part of the group, or to be sociable, he was barking up the wrong tree – a tree full of rattlesnakes he called them.  His children, a boy and three girls, were taught with no apologies to do the same.  His rules for living were simple:  treat people like you want to be treated; stand for what you believe is right; do right; tell the truth; and be honest.

My father was a simple man who often worked double shifts to make ends meet.  We were not poor, but there were times we held desperately to the bottom rung of middle class with mama in tears wondering where she might scrape together the monthly sixty-dollar house payment.  Mama and daddy worked hard with little extra to spare, but never a year passed without birthday presents and gifts under the Christmas tree – the only two times during the year my sisters and I received a toy unless daddy made a slingshot from a tree branch or a wood doll cradle.  Unlike many children today, we did not dare turn up our noses at any birthday or Christmas present even if we might be disappointed.  We dared not be appreciative for fear there would not be a gift the next time around.  We were lucky tough, Santa Claus always brought us that one special doll or Red Rider BB gun we had prayed for all year.  Santa never failed us kids.  At the same time, we never understood why daddy was gone so often during Christmas season.  We had no idea he was working double shifts to make Christmas happen.

By the time I was in high school, things were a little better.  Even though Daddy worked fewer double shifts, we began to have a little extra money in the house.  The first thing he bought was a window air conditioner for the den area.  Mama and daddy sat staring at that air conditioner and taking in the cold air for at least two hours.  The next summer, he bought our first color television after unsuccessfully trying for weeks to use red and green cellophane to colorize the picture, and then my senior year, 1971, he bought the first new vehicle he had ever owned – a red Ford pickup.  We were in high cotton, but Mama cautioned my sisters and I not to talk of the new things Daddy had bought for fear the neighbors might think we were foolish with our money and uppity.  Daddy frowned and curled his top lip when one of my sisters told him what Mama said.  If he could have had his way, I am confident he would have told everybody in town.  I think he felt he had earned the right to be a bit uppity.  I would have to agree – he had every right.

All he wanted in life was for his family to be happy and to be left alone and to occasionally get to go hunting or on a family vacation to the Ozarks or the Smoky Mountains – the extent of his travels in his lifetime.  A high school diploma for his children was also important to him, and not going to school was not a choice in his house.  To him, a high school education, and a reasonable paying job – he believed good paying jobs were reserved for those who knew the right people – were the most important contributions his children could give to the family; however, he did not stand in the way of his children if a college education was their goal, which for me it was.

He was always careful not to get wrapped up in politics or controversies.  Basically, he refused to argue at all unless maybe he was haggling over money.  He said bluntly, “It is a waste of time to argue or reason with an evangelist, a politician, or someone who thinks his shit doesn’t stink,” and if you wanted to argue that, he would simply smile and walk away.  We did not always agree, but through the years, I have learned he had more wisdom than I gave him credit.  Like any man, he had his faults, but he was a good father, and he taught his children to stand for what they believe regardless the direction the wind was blowing.

I guess in many ways I am my father.  He would not agree with some stands I have taken, but I can hear him ask, “Do you think it is right?”  If I answered, “I do not know, or I am not sure,” he would say, “Then don’t do it until you are.”  If I answered, “Yes,” he would have nodded and changed the subject feeling there was nothing left to say.   I tell this story because I should have told it long ago.  My father was a conservative; I am somewhere slightly to the left of him.  He was not a Democrat or a Republican; in that, he and I are on the same page.  Although he did his best to be as good a man as possible, like his father he was raised in a racist society; I was raised his son with some of those same influences, but he taught me to be better.  He did his best to ensure his children grew up better and more understanding; I pray my children are better than I am, and because of their mother, I am confident of it.

My father apologized to no man for who he was or how he was raised.  He spent his life trying to raise his children to be his better and reached out to any man who needed a helping hand.  Likewise, I do not apologize to any man for who I am or how I was raised, and I have tried to raise my children to be better than I am as well as stand for the humanity and rights of all people.  That is all my father could have done.  That is all I can do.  That is all any of us can do.

We can pass laws that promote the humanity and equality of all people, and we should, but laws by themselves will not erase racism.  We will not erase racism in a lifetime of protesting, vandalism, and destruction.  Every offensive monument and statue can be toppled, and it will not erase where we have been nor will it build a bridge to where we should be going.  To change racism will take one father and one mother at a time doing their best to raise their children with more understanding and love in their hearts than they were raised.  Racism is not a color thing; it is a people thing.  None of us were born racist.  Racism is a learned trait bred and nurtured in the home, and that is where we can make the most significant advances against it.

I am who I am with the desire to be better than who I am.  That is all we can ask of each other.

That is what my father asked of me.

©Jack Linton, June 21, 2020

Unacceptable

“If you can talk, you can breathe,” Mayor, Petal, Mississippi

It is rare when national events have an immediate impact on small towns.  However, such an event recently engulfed the small Mississippi community of Petal (population 10, 674), and it will most likely continue to do so for many days and weeks to come.  The unacceptable words of the mayor jolted the small town awake and forced its people to face the reality they no longer exist in isolation.  Business as usual and doing things the way it has always been done – sometimes with no more than down home accountability – was laid open for the world to see.  With the push of a button, a Facebook post, similar to ones that have been posted time and time again, exposed one man and by association a whole town to the scrutiny of the nation.  They learned what they think, say, and do matters and everyone is accountable not only to themselves but to the bigger world that exists outside small-town America.

Small towns are no longer the exclusive playgrounds of good old boys who hold the only set of keys in town.  It is no longer their town, but everybody’s town–black, white, brown, gay, straight, Christian, and non-Christian.  That may be hard for some to swallow, but it is a truth often ignored.  In this age of ever doubling information and uncountable tools of communication, the world is no longer a distant landscape with little or no relevance, but a river running through the streets demanding inclusion and transparency.  Such a river flooded Petal, Mississippi, and its rising waters, calling for clarity and accountability, will most likely change the town forever.  Hopefully, it will make for better human beings.

There are many things beautiful and great about small towns, but sometimes the isolation they breed creates blinders that prevent residents from clearly seeing the other side of the road.  As a result, they often grow complacent and do not recognize the cliques, self-righteousness, and arrogance that blinds them to the world and even the incongruities in their own backyard.  Too often, they see the light only after a good hard kick to the seat of the pants or a “come to Jesus” meeting.  The mayor’s words brought both, but the insensitivity and wrong of his words are not solely his to shoulder.  The citizens must partly share the shame.  This is not the first time bias and indifference has been shown, but it is the first time the citizens have chosen to no longer tolerate it.  Finally!  Good for them!

Once the cameras stop rolling and the bandwagon rolls out of town, the people of Petal will face either going back to the way they were or building a new beginning.  Hopefully, they will make a fresh start on the shoulders of the hurt, anger, and frustration they have witnessed, and the hearts that have finally awakened.  Man’s purpose on this earth is to respect the humanity of all people and honor the sanctity of all human life regardless of affluence, ethnicity, religion, skin color, or lifestyle.  Anything less is an abomination to respect and love for one another.  To truly be a free nation as well as a civilized nation, everyone must be adamant in the pursuit of life, liberty, and humanity for all.  Anything less is unacceptable.

©Jack Linton, June 4, 2020

Sheltering in Place is Wearing Me Out

I don’t know about you, but my daily schedule during this shelter-in-place is about to wear me out , , , ,

8:00 – 9:00 am – Breakfast and read the paper

9:00 – 12:00 noon – Activities and snacks

I go outside
Come back in
Pick up a fork
Shovel it in

I go outside
Come back in
Pick up a fork
Shovel it in

I go outside
come back in
Pick up a fork
Shovel it in

I go outside
Come back in
Pick up a fork
Shovel it in

12:00 – 12:30 pm – Lunch

12:30 – 2:00 pm – Activities and snacks

I go outside
Come back in
Pick up a fork
Shovel it in

I go outside
Come back in
Pick up a fork
Shovel it in

I go outside
come back in
Pick up a fork
Shovel it in

I go outside
Come back in
Pick up a fork
Shovel it in

2:00 – 2:30 pm – Cup of hot tea (picked this up in Ireland)

2:30 – 4:00 pm – Activities and snacks

I go outside
Come back in
Pick up a fork
Shovel it in

I go outside
Come back in
Pick up a fork
Shovel it in

I go outside
come back in
Pick up a fork
Shovel it in

I go outside
Come back in
Pick up a fork
Shovel it in

4:00 – 5:00 pm – Nap time (sometimes earlier & more often)

5:00 – 6:00 pm – Watch evening news

6:00 – 7:00 pm – Dinner

7:00 – 12:00 am – Television and snacks

I flip the channel
Flip it back
Pick up a Twinkie
Shovel it in

I flip the channel
Flip it back
Pop some popcorn
Shovel it in

I flip the channel
Flip it back
Open a bag of chips
Shovel it in

12:00 – 1:00 am – Lock the house and prepare for bed

I turn the latch
Check it again
Milk and Cookies
Shovel it in

Man, am I ever more exhausted – GOOD NIGHT ALL!

JL

Jack Linton

April 20, 2020

Take a Deep Breath: Even if the COVID-19 Virus Hangs Around for awhile, Kids Will be Okay this School Year

I have watched with interest over the past few weeks as schools struggled to deal with the COVID-19 virus in a professional and logical manner. I believe their efforts to address the situation through technology and working diligently to maintain contact with parents has been admirable. The information I have seen shows a well-intended effort to replicate the school day in the home, and that effort should be applauded. Nevertheless, as a former teacher and school administrator, I know, with the rare exception, how difficult duplicating the school day at home will be, especially at the high-level school administrators, teachers, and parents would like to see. That does not mean parents and teachers should not try or should give up.  Absolutely not!  Kids need academic direction during their isolation from school; however, in the case of school replication at home, it would be wise to ask are we trying to do too much?

 

For example, trying to duplicate at home what happens during the school day is a fail waiting to happen as parents, students, and teachers grow frustrated trying to achieve the almost impossible.   Not only does trying to replicate the school day cause frustration for everyone concerned, it is likely to turn into busy work to fill time rather than provide meaningful work, and that does not benefit anyone, especially the students. Again, I am not saying don’t give kids assignments while at home, but I question the value of assigning as much as six hours of schoolwork each day to them.  Realistically, such assignments should be toned down to no more than three maybe four hours a day at most.  Shorter assignments would keep students working on schoolwork during morning hours and provide an incentive for free time during the afternoon hours.  Besides, it is not the amount of time spent on assignments that matters, but rather, it is the quality of the assignment and feedback on the assignment that has the most impact on learning. One suggestion for parents and teachers who want to truly impact academics while students are isolated at home is to consider putting a book in their their hands rather doing busy work on online assignments and handouts.  Research, indicates reading followed closely by writing is the most academically impacting activity in which a student can be involved.  Another benefit of a book is parents could model reading for their children.  Wow!  How innovative might that be!

 

This next part, may rattle the bones and nerves of some teachers and administrators, but when it comes to academics, if the virus had to choose a part of the school year with the least impact on academics, the fourth nine weeks was certainly the best time to choose.  Let’s face the facts, the fourth nine weeks begins after spring break in mid-March, and any new academic material is presented during the first three weeks of the quarter, and even then, it is squeezed between students missing academic time for spring sports and other school related programs.  By mid-April, if not sooner, presentation of new academic material falls to the wayside as focus turns to district championships, district benchmark testing and prepping for state tests, and then May crawls into the picture. The month of May is pretty much an academic washout with state testing, reviews, final exams, award programs, and end of year celebrations.  So, it is easy to see students miss little academically during the fourth nine weeks of the school year.  That is simply the nature of the beast!  If the virus had hit during the first, second, or third nine weeks, it would have been an entirely different story.  Working kids eight hours a day at home to make up for what they would have missed in school during those quarters would not have been enough.  Fortunately, that did not happen.  Thanks to the luck of good timing, academically speaking schools are not, at least should not be, in dire straits.

 

Therefore, I encourage teachers to give assignments in moderation and parents to continue to work with students on the assignments as best they can.  But, to really help students get the most of their time at home, the best thing would be to get them out of their rooms away from PlayStation and sit them down in the living room, kitchen, or on the back porch where they can easily be monitored as they READ a book!  They will learn more by reading than from all the ungraded online assignments and handouts combined.  Kids who read are successful throughout their schooling.

 

Finally, other than hating this has happened to the seniors, and spring events such as sports, show choir, band, debate, and prom have been canceled, everyone needs to take a deep breath and understand our children and grandchildren will be fine academically even if school does not reconvene for the remainder of this school year. It is rare for anyone to fail the fourth nine weeks, and this year will be no different for those students who have done what they were supposed to do academically.  Therefore, read a book and enjoy this rare opportunity to be with your kids for an extended period of time.

 

Remember, there are always blessings if you look for them even in a time crisis.

 

©Jack Linton, April 9, 2020

JL

Alternatives to Toilet Paper

This no toilet paper situation is getting old. I went to the store for a few essentials and once again no ground beef or toilet paper. There was plenty of fresh produce, so I can do without the meat, but toilet paper is a different crisis all together. What is the deal with toilet paper? Did people not wipe their butts prior to the COVID-19 virus crisis? Every time there is an announcement connected to the virus, people go toilet paper crazy and strip the store shelves bare! As a result, I have had to take some drastic actions.

As a precaution, I have come up with several toilet paper alternatives I may need to resort to in the near future if the shortage continues. These alternatives will work, at least to some degree, but if anyone follows my lead, I caution them selection and usage may vary from person to person and the end results are the sole responsibility of the reader/user.  Of course, this is not an exclusive list, so feel free to add to it if you have alternatives of your own:

Ten Toilet Paper Alternatives:

  1. Toilet Tissue – Since finding toilet paper in stores is so rare these days, I included it as alternative wipe. Toilet paper is hard to come by since everyone thinks they have to have a roll in each hand whenever they go to pot as well as a five-year supply in storage;

 

  1. Duct Tape – It will stick to anything, so don’t think it won’t stick and pull poo off a dirty rear. However, do not let it set too long, or it could remove large amounts of real estate from your nether region;

 

  1. A Sock – Remember all those single socks that come out of the wash with no match. Do I need say more? Those single socks without a mate are the perfect toilet paper substitute! Wear it like a glove and wipe away in comfort;

 

  1. Corn Cobs – The Mayans, Aztecs, and Colonial Americans used them to clean their plumbing, so there is no reason why we can’t do the same. Crawfish are plentiful this time of year, and corn on the cob is a common ingredient in a crawfish boil, so start saving those corn cobs. However, if you plan to use corn cobs from your crawfish boil, I would strongly suggest go light on the cayenne pepper in the boil;

 

  1. Seashells – Remember all those seashells the kids collected every summer at the beach. There is not a kid’s room, attic, or storage shed that doesn’t have a box or two of seashells sitting on a shelf taking up space. Without toilet paper, seashells are a perfectly designed alternative – just scrape and scoop;

 

  1. Magazines – The Sears & Roebuck catalog is a thing of the past, but there are still plenty of newspapers and magazines such as Southern Living, The New Yorker, and Home and Garden stacked next to the bed and/or recliner in most homes. If you have finished looking at the pictures – no one reads anymore – why not put them to good service?

 

  1. Fruit Skins – The skins of oranges and grapefruits make a great substitute toilet paper. Fruit skins also leave the booty with the delicate scent of fruit after each use;

 

  1. Sponge on a Stick – Warning! Not to be confused with chicken on a stick! The Romans used a sponge on a stick soaked in salt water to wipe their hiney. In fact, they shared the same community sponge, but if you choose this option, please keep it only in the family;

 

  1. Cell Phone Covers – A modern twist on using seashells to wipe dirty bottoms is the use of cell phone covers to scrape and scoop. The technique is the same, and since no one ever goes to the bathroom without their cell phone, there is little danger you will ever find yourself without a pooper scooper; and

 

  1. The Hand – I highly recommended avoiding the use of your hand for wiping unless it is an absolute last resort emergency. I know early Europeans used this technique, but they also went months without bathing. Of course, hands can be washed, but it is extremely difficult to clean under the fingernails after a hardy wipe

These alternatives will not resolve the toilet paper dilemma, but they might save the day if in a bind. The choice how you wipe and with what is yours, but please, the next time you are in Walmart, The Dollar Store, or your local grocery, and you happen to find toilet paper on the shelf, ask yourself one question, “Do I really need to buy another pack of toilet paper to go along with the 165 packs I have stored in the house and storage shed?” If the answer is yes, don’t be offended if your neighbor smells a little ripe or under their fingernails look like they have been digging in a mud pit.

Be a good neighbor – stay home and DON’T HOARD TOILET PAPER!

©Jack Linton, April 5, 2020

JL

Toilet Paper:  The Key to Civilization (Including a Brief History)

As we learned recently, the key to our civilization is toilet paper.  With it, we are a civilized world superpower.  Without it, we crumble like a third world country into chaos.  When Americans are faced by a potential tragedy – hurricane, flood, or apocalypse – the first thing they reach for is toilet paper – not guns, potatoes, or the Bible – but toilet paper!  When did you last see panic driven hoarders frantically pushing grocery buggies full of guns, potatoes, or Bibles out of stores in the wake of an impending disaster?  Likely, never, but if you are not careful during an apocalyptic event, you will get run over by buggies piled high with toilet paper.  In America, toilet paper is the anchor that holds common sense in place.  Without toilet paper, Americas react like lemmings rushing over the edge of a cliff.

Some of us might think such behavior is ridiculous and shake our heads and point sadly, even angrily, at the folks who strip store shelves bare of toilet paper with no regard for anyone’s hygiene but their own.  We console ourselves with the delusion civilized people do not act that way; however, that is exactly how civilized people act.  One of the greatest differences between man and animals is the ability to wipe your rear, and in that difference lies the foundation of what we think of as civilization.  People housed in a civilized bubble often speak eloquently of embracing “all for one” and “one for all” as the foundation of civilization, but history bears the truth is actually closer to “all for self-preservation” and protecting the ability to wipe at all costs as the true foundations of civilization.  Therefore, before we get too upset with the actions of hoarders, maybe we should first slow down and realize they are actually doing their part to preserve civilization as we know it.

The number one use of toilet paper is wiping the bottom post-dumping.  There is nothing more civilized or personal.  When anything endangers our ability to wipe, people panic and rightfully so.  Have you ever finished your business in the bathroom and discovered the toilet paper roll was empty?  Unless a person is built in the mold of a saint, when that happens, they would not think twice of taking the last toilet tissue square from the hands of their mama or the saint for that matter.  There is nothing more frightening and uncivilized as getting stuck on the pot with no toilet paper!  Other than eating, wiping your bottom with toilet paper is the most essential task in a home, and frankly in a business, or on a cross country trip as well.  Americans can go days without eating, but a day without toilet paper is an end-of-time pestilence.  We use toilet paper to wipe our rear, blow our nose, line the toilet seat, stuff bras and pants, and roll yards.  No self-respecting teenager in America would dare be caught without at least one twelve pack of toilet paper in the trunk of the car in case of a rolling emergency.  So, let’s get real!  Toilet paper is the foundation of our existence as civilized people.  It is all that keeps us a notch above the animals.  Therefore, are we truly angry at the toilet paper hoarders, or are we simply pissed-off we did not get there first to do our part in saving civilization?

The good thing is eventually hoarding and toilet paper scarcities end and become a distant memory.  Like the origins of wiping, scooping, and washing, the latest chapter in waste management becomes little more than a footnote in history.  Until the next disaster threatens civilization as we know it and shelves of two ply then single ply toilet paper are once again wiped clean, life returns to normal.  Once normalcy is restored, the story of civilization and who first squeezed the Charmin matters only to history:

A Short History of Toilet Paper

  • 1800 B.C. – The Mayans discovered the use of corn cobs as poop removers and their civilization was born.
  • 200 A.D. – The first paper making process was developed in China not for writing but for wrapping and disposing of poo. Prior to that the Chinese used silk gloves to freshen up.
  • 601 A.D. – Paper wrapped poo became a huge disposal issue in China. As a solution, in the 7th century, The Great Wall of China was built using baked bricks of paper wrapped poo as building blocks, which proved to be extremely economical.
  • 1300 A.D. – The Aztecs create the first perfumed corn cobs making it possible for large numbers of people to congregate in one area thereby making large cities more practical and livable.
  • 1391 A.D. – Perfumed paper wipes, the first actual toilet paper, was created for the Chinese Emperor’s family. The resulting heavenly smell of the Emperor and his family gave rise to their status as gods.
  • 1450 A.D. – Paper became widely available in Europe, so newspaper became a popular choice of toilet paper, which gave rise to the term “Yellow Journalism.”
  • 1500 A.D. – The Spanish invaded Central America and with newspapers in short supply in the New World, there was a severe corn cob shortage, which had a dramatic impact on the Aztecs and led to the demise of their civilization.
  • 1587 A.D. – The first commercially packaged toilet paper sheets were created by Joseph C. Gayetty. The toilet paper was medicated with aloe and Gayetty’s name was printed on each sheet.  This was the forerunner of today’s toilet paper with novelty printing.
  • 1879 A.D. – Walter Alcock created perforated toilet paper on a roll instead of flat sheets, and Scott Paper Company sold the first toilet paper rolls. That same year Sargent Dixwell, Headmaster at Boston Latin School in Boston Massachusetts became the first headmaster/principal to have his house rolled with toilet paper.
  • 1935 A.D. – The first splinter free toilet paper was invented by Northern Tissue. This new invention was praised by consumers but frowned on by manufacturers of underwear and tweezers.  Fewer tweezers and underwear were sold!  For the first time in history, there were no splinters when wiping nor did splinters rip and tear holes in undergarments.  Underwear using a thinner fabric that developed holes and tore easily was reintroduced several years later as a Christmas promotion by profit hungry undergarment companies.
  • 1973 A.D. – The United States amid a gas and onion shortage had its first toilet paper shortage. Comedian Johnny Carson joked about toilet paper being the next shortage on The Tonight Show, and the next day shelves in stores across the nation were wiped clean as people went hysterical buying and hoarding toilet paper.  There is no record of people hoarding onions at the time.
  • 2020 A.D. – Faced with the Coronavirus that attacked the respiratory system, Americans panicked and stripped stores of toilet paper. The connection to the respiratory system and the excretory system that led to the run on toilet paper is still being studied, but of course, we know the reason was to save civilization.

The history of toilet paper is a roadmap to man’s journey as a civilized human being.  As stated previously, the greatest difference between man and animals is the ability to wipe, and when that ability is threatened, mankind gives way to panic.  We are human beings, and as such, we will go to great lengths to protect the sanctity of our home and civilization, and if that means hoarding toilet paper at the expense of others, so be it.  We are the protectors of the porcelain throne and toilet paper is our banner flapping from under our skirt, from the heel of our shoe, the lump in our pants, and the swaying branch of a tree.  Take away toilet paper, America’s banner, and bring America to its knees.  Without toilet paper, we like the Aztecs cease to function as a civilized society.

See you in the history books.

©Jack Linton, April 1, 2020

JL

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