The great toilet paper famine - an existential crisis
CORONAVIRUS has nothing on the real epidemic sweeping Australia right now.
Panic buying has infected apparently sound-minded individuals across the nation, tipped to the edge of collective insanity like lemmings in their desparation to stock up on - of all things - toilet paper.
Firstly we deny climate change in the face of unprecedented bushfires in our own backyard. Now, faced with a serious health crisis which could lead to families being confined to their homes for a couple of weeks, we head to the supermarkets in droves, bypass the non-perishables and clear the shelves in the toilet paper aisle.
What a popcorn moment for the rest of the world as they sit back - faced with the same global health dilemma - and laugh at our level of intelligence as we alone get caught up in the toilet paper frenzy. Our international neighbours must be asking what's really going on down under?
Face masks? Yep, fair enough. I get that. I understand local dentists already being forked with astronomical price rises for this essential commodity as suppliers take advantage of the shortfall. Hand sanitiser? Yeah, I guess.
But toilet paper? Fair dinkum people, wake up and use the over-sized brains we humans were blessed with and think for yourselves.
Unlike fruit and vegetables, there's no risk of a long term shortage of toilet paper - especially when most of it is manufactured in South Australia. While it might go missing from the shelves for a week or two (six rolls should suffice, right?), the manufacturing plants will simply ramp up production and enjoy the sugar hit.
In this particular instance, there are so many alternatives if you happen to run out (which you won't). You can always use a washable rag or cloth, or time your s**ts with your showers, and now I know why when my parents built their house they installed a bidet, which has sat largely unused - apart from teenage party tricks - for 41 years. Then of course there's the trusty old bushman's solution of a nice broad leaf. But you can't replace food or water (and we're no longer about to run out of the latter).
I guess I am at a stage in life where I'm changing nappies every day, which diminishes the gross out factor, but there's no escaping we've become over-sanitised creatures, with a lack of resilience and a serious deficit in the coping mechanisms evolved by our ancestors.
This copycat behaviour is a scary prototype for when the proverbial s**t actually hits the fan (which is about the only thing all those extra rolls are good for).
While the bushfires brought out the best in human resolve, when a situation affects an entire population there is a far more reactive, fend for yourself response.
We are evidently susceptible to panic reactions, which doesn't give us much hope if a truly disastrous scenario that threatens human existence unfolds. The rise and fall pattern of civilisations throughout history paints a bleak picture too.
On a positive note this toilet paper shortage must be the best thing to happen for The Daily Examiner. Given the amount of people who've blurted it's good for nothin' but wiping your arse, our sales must be through the roof.
For good measure we decided to check how many Australian made toilet rolls we had stored at home - 25. So no need to hit the shops any time soon. And no, they're not for sale, and I'm not telling you where I live. But I might have to install security cameras now after publicising my stash of such an in-demand commodity.
And the last six pack I bought I made a pointed effort to a good deed and splash out on Corona - not Kleenex. So it's beer o'clock for me - time to mummify myself in dunny roll, put the feet up and enjoy a cold one.
Have a good weekend.