For many years I have heard people harass each other’s complaints by saying “that is such a first world problem,” implying that it was really an inconvenience compared to the real issues facing most of the world. But the insanity around toilet paper in the United States during this virus outbreak really takes the prize. Where to begin?
First, why the mad rush to buy toilet paper? I heard one explanation that it makes people think they have done SOMETHING during a time of great uncertainty. However, I prefer the answer given to a reporter yesterday who asked a shopper why she was buying it. Her reply? “I don’t know why, but everyone else seems to be doing it.” (Apparently she never heard her mother ask her “if everyone jumps off the roof are you going to?”)
Second, what does it say about us as a people? Nothing good, that is certain. Millions of fellow human beings are in refugee camps, in shacks, homeless, and without basic toilet facilities. I cannot imagine their response to our childish hysteria over lack of tissue. Our country is showing its underbelly and it isn’t pretty. It certainly looks as though we worship the Dow Jones Average and toilet paper.
Is this what it looks like as a country falls apart? “Not with a bang, but a tissue.” (With apologies to T.S. Eliot)