Lovin' Life Graphic

I’m not exactly a germaphobe, but man, oh man. Why do I keep wanting to take my temperature every time I have an urge to cough? And handwashing?

We’re finally using up all those fancy foo-foo soap bars my wife has gotten as gifts over the years. I am, In fact, washing my hands a bunch, but to be honest, half the time it’s only because I want to be able to scratch my nose. You know, like the good old days … February.

Have you gone to the store lately? Of course, all the toilet paper gets sold out in the wink of an eye, but also paper towels. Don’t people use cloth towels and napkins anymore?

Last weekend I ran into a friend outside Magdalena’s Family Dollar and he was reminding me about the mad rush for toilet paper back in 1973 during the oil crisis. Yes, even then. As they say, what goes around… But it's much different today. I certainly don’t disparage anyone for their proclivity when it comes to bathroom habits, but when you see a 24 roll pack selling online for $24, that ain’t right.

Suffice to say, this pandemic thing is new to all of us, although our forefathers and foremothers in years past have had to deal with earlier epidemics; scarlet fever, cholera, tuberculosis, polio and a host of lesser outbreaks over the last century or so. I don’t ever remember reading about overpriced bootlegged rolls of toilet paper in those olden days, but of course, on my grandparents’ farm there was always the Sears Roebuck catalog and a bag of corn cobs in their one-holer out back.

Up at the house, we've been trying to cut back and economize, and have been trying to keep that up ever since Magdalena’s water crisis when we found ourselves in a pickle back in ‘13. We’re decidedly in a real pickle now, and not just Magdalena. I’ve talked before about how we got in the habit of reusing water from the bathtub to flush the toilet and water the garden, but also have taken to making or fixing things rather than run down to the store.

Yes, it’s still OK to run down to the store if need be, but you know as well as I do to not overstock and to keep a social distance - like a Star Trek force field - around you. That’s mainly it. Keep it short and go back home. It’s not the end f the world and you don’t have to go all prepper and seal up your doors and windows with duct tape.

Not to disparage duct tape, though. It is something I wouldn’t want to do without in times of a global emergency. It’s a wonder product in my book.

I remember one time a few years ago, I was working on a project in a small village in the Quintana Roo jungle on the Yucatan Peninsula. It was way back in there where there were no basic services -they had only recently been wired for electricity - and it so happened that a Mayan lady somehow had suffered a horrible gash on her arm, one that desperately needed stitches. So she did the sensible thing, wrapped it tightly with duct tape. Somebody went to fetch her husband from the milpa and they dr her to the clinic 40 miles away in Cancun.

There's no limit to what people use that gray roll for.

If nothing else, it can seal a duct. Or even a duck. So the question remains, why a duck?

I admit I have corrected people who referred to it as “duck” instead of “duct,” but that's really a gray area, or at best an olive drab one. During World War II when the military had a need for a waterproof sealing tape for ammunition boxes the Johnson & Johnson company put some glue on the back of strips of what was called duck cloth, that canvassy waterproof material for hunters' hats and pants. Hence, “duck” tape.

I hate to admit it but there have been more than one or two times I have fantasized about sticking a piece over somebody's mouth. Kind of like a DIY face mask.

Well, not really, but it’s a wonder they haven’t sold out of the stuff. I mean, people will try anything.

Oh, before I forget it, this Sunday is Vietnam Veterans Day. It was March 29, 1973, that MACV - Military Assistance Command - was deactivated. All Vietnam vets know MACV; it was where all the big brass who called all the shots were. Pardon the expression.

Anyway, they haven’t canceled Vietnam Veterans Day, at least at a distance, you could say.

What’s more:

Family - not canceled.

Reading - not canceled.

Pets - not canceled.

Music - not canceled.

Laughing - not canceled.

And keep in mind:

Hope - not canceled.