Tag Archives: Coronavirus

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

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