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Why are people hoarding toilet paper?

TRAVERSE CITY — Remember in 2016 when you said “Don’t worry, he’ll grow into the job” and “Hey, he led a business, he can lead the United States”? And then, later, when you said, “The economy is doing great and the stock market is all him!” and “Yeehaw, look at my 401K! MAGA!”? Remember that? I sure hope you do. Leadership sometimes doesn’t matter much in good times, but it sure does, well, now.

Get mad all you want. It’s true. He’s a disaster in charge of leading us out of a disaster and he is doing a disastrous job of it.

– I will go to my grave wondering why people are hoarding toilet paper. That makes as much sense as hoarding Twinkies. In fact, it makes less sense than hoarding Twinkies. Twinkies at least make being stuck inside for 8 to a zillion weeks more tolerable.

– A news story said people are buying more guns, too. For what? To shoot the zombies who are coming to steal your TP and Twinkies? (Zombies, by the way, were once people. People with guns. Who says they won’t shoot back?)

Seriously, why don’t we consider hoarding – TP, food, water, whatever – greedy, anti-social behavior? “Hey, I got mine.” Yeah, well, good for you. What if other people actually need stuff? Not exactly America’s proudest moment.

– Why aren’t more tests available? A New York Times piece says the short answer is “a lack of preparation and poor execution by the federal government. The initial tests developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had a technical problem – and federal officials were then too slow to find alternatives. After problems arose with the CDC’s test, officials could have switched to using successful tests that other countries were already using. But the officials refused to do so, essentially because it would have required changing bureaucratic procedures. The federal government could also have eased regulations on American hospitals and laboratories, to allow them to create and manufacture their own tests. But federal officials did not do so for weeks (and a) promising test that was blocked by ‘existing regulations and red tape’ while other countries ramped up much earlier and faster.”

– I am now in the habit of washing my hands or spritzing my fingers with germ-bust every time I touch anything, meaning I’m now down to two layers of skin left. “Skeleton Hands Andy” is about two days away, I fear. I’ve had worse nicknames, by the way.

– If I’m really stuck inside for 10 weeks, I’m going to read “Don Quixote,” “War & Peace” and “Anna Karenina,” which I’ve somehow missed or avoided reading all these years. Or I’ll find some streaming service that has “Hogan’s Heroes” reruns. What can I say, I can’t get enough of that wacky Sgt. Schultz.

No, seriously, I really can’t. I love that show. It’s dumb, bizarre fun. Nothing says comedic hijinks like a World War II German prisoner of war camp.

– My sister had a good point recently on her Facebook page. (You will likely never read those words again, by the way.) She said restaurants, which do so much to support local events and charities, could now use you and me to step up and buy some take-out food now that they’re all closed for inside dining.

“In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.” – Albert Camus.

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Andrew Heller, an award-winning newspaper columnist, appears weekly in the Daily Press. He graduated from Escanaba Area High School in 1979. Follow him at andrewheller.com and on Facebook and Twitter. Write to him via email at andrewhellercolumn@gmail.com.

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