Tuesday, March 17, 2020


By Jim Higgins

I went into our local grocery store, HEB, to buy some Ziploc bags but got caught upIn the “Stock Up” syndrome.” At the end of the Ziploc aisle, a train of shopping carts began snaking toward a newly lowered pallet of toilet paper and paper towels. Like moths to a light, arms reached out for the minimum two packages per customer. I needed none, so I took two. Yes, I have met the enemy and it is me.

I really didn’t need any TP as we shopped for paper products two weeks ago before the “Great Toilet Paper Rush“ began. Yet somehow the sight of perfectly normal neighbors lining up like some sort of free government cheese giveaway caused me to assume my lemming state.

I gave up on Clorox Wipes and Purell days ago. Soap and water are fine. However, flushable wipes are a horse of a different color, as it were. Seems like those disappeared on Day 1 of the Hygienic Panic of 2020. But there are plenty of the non-flushable baby wipes on the shelves. I emphasize “non-flushable” because most folks don’t read the fine print. Years ago, a water resource engineer told me that the flushable wipes were a nuisance to sewage plants.

In the current crisis, people are probably flushing the baby wipes, too, exacerbating the problem. Perhaps the water supply is why so many people ae stocking up on bottled water. Apparently, their kitchen faucets are an after-thought. Where do you think most of this bottled water comes from—a spring in Middle Earth? Try municipal water faucets. Read the fine print.

My wife and I are in the at risk cohort so we avoid crowds, other elderly people and early bird specials. I do not wear a mask but I do wear latex gloves. When I snap them on In the grocery store all the men straighten up smartly. I feel like all I am missing is the shovel, the chain saw and the 50-pound bag of lye. Still, the gloves keep me from touching suspect surfaces, such as the shopping cart, door knobs and my face. I had no idea how often I touched my face and yet it is still there. Strange.

Now that we are transitioning to no outside activities, no restaurants, no gyms, we must learn to be socially aloof and not interact with our neighbors. Nothing new there.

As for our pets, there is plenty of dog and cat food still on the shelves. Enough for all of us.

EDITOR’S NOTE: I went to my HEB store for a few items yesterday and could not get half of them. They always stock a very large variety of eggs, but there was not a single egg available.

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