It used to be most folks had appropriate reactions given a particular set of circumstances. If it were chilly outside, they’d put on a coat. If there was a bug going around, they were more diligent about washing their hands. And, if it looked that their daily routine would be inconvenienced by what was happening nationally or globally, they’d take it in stride and made the best of it.
In a bygone era, when John Wayne walked around with sixty-odd pounds of undigested meat in his lower intestine and still managed to crank out some timeless westerns, people used to be level headed.
It used to be the appropriate reaction to an imminent nuclear attack was to get under your desk at school, and cover your head with your hands. Just think about that. I used to see those videos, and sort of smirk. In case of emergency, get under your desk and cover your head—no bunkers, hazmat suits, rebreathers, gas masks, or barrels full of hand sanitizer.
What were you supposed to do if you cut off a finger or worse yet a limb? Stop the bleeding, then find your local blacksmith so he can cauterize the wound. If you had the time, maybe bite down on something like a piece of leather to keep from squealing like a little girl.
Those days are long gone. They are far in the rearview, and nowadays, people are more likely to die from heart attacks induced by the panic they’re basting in ceaselessly than they are from a virus that for most folks is akin to the common flu.
People throughout the country are taking a run at toilet tissue in such a panicky fashion that one would think all the world’s villains got together in the dead of night and decided that the best way to undo modern society was to bomb all the toilet paper factories. They are acting as though it will nevermore be produced or trucked to their local grocer, and until the end of days, what you get is what you’ve got, and that’ll be the end of it.
I see pictures of individuals with man buns in flip flops loading up cart fulls of toilet paper, yet not bothering to snag a can of tuna or a bag of beans on their way out of the store. Kind of counterintuitive if you ask me, because if there’s nothing to put in, nothing will come out, and that sort of makes the need for toilet paper nonexistent, doesn’t it?
The truth of it all is that we’ve become a generation of coddled, panicky, sissified man-babies, overreacting to everything around us. Because individualism has been eroding for the last three decades, we are prone to giving in to herd mentality and groupthink, to the point that if we saw one person buying something in the store, we feel the need to do likewise.
If we hear some talking head spit out the worst case, apocalyptic scenarios on television, we immediately believe it to be the God’s honest truth. Because a certain age demographic has never had to deal with a crisis, they allow their minds to run wild and begin to believe that millions of dead littering the streets is the best we can hope for.
This is why you have suburban moms putting plastic bags over their kids’ heads and duct taping them really good so the virus can’t get in, then wondering why little Bobby is turning blue. The panic is being stoked for a purpose, and once that train starts rolling downhill, it’s impossible to stop of its own inertia. Cooler heads must prevail; otherwise, the next fad will be people digging their own graves.
For those of you who have been writing to me and saying I’m not taking this seriously enough, perk up, the following paragraph is for you: We are all going to die! You are going to die; I am going to die, your neighbor, your pastor, your teacher, and the guy who mows your lawn in the summer, death is a guarantee for everyone! The certainty of death is the one absolute rule for every living thing that has taken ever drawn breath. Life has a 100% mortality rate, and the giver of life is in complete control over when to call that spark of life back to Himself. The spirit returns to God, the dust returns to the ground, and no amount of toilet paper or hand sanitizer will change that. If it’s my time, it’s my time, and if I gots to go, I gots to go; zero loss, all gain.
Since your local church, being brave and fearless in the face of death itself likely canceled services today, go outside instead. Breathe some fresh air, talk to God, take a walk, watch the birds, wonder at the complexity of everything around you, then remind yourself that He is in control of it all. What have you to fear?