Column: COVID-19 and the panicked pursuit of splinter free TP

In Plain View by Lachlan Labere

Admittedly, some of my more inspired thinking occurs in the bathroom.

I don’t know how many times a bathroom break at work was the distraction needed to come up with that headline or story lead I’d been struggling with moments prior.

Arguably, a walk outside might have had the same effect.

It was during a bathroom visit the weekend before last that I found myself considering our longstanding reliance upon single, double or even triple-ply toilet paper – tiny tissues manufactured to be luxuriously kitteny soft for the purpose of keeping our posteriors clean. And now, amid concerns around COVID-19, one of the most sought after products on the planet.

How fragile has the foundation of our existence become that we would lash out at one another to procure a roll of butt wipe?

Did you know there is actually a website on the history of toilet paper? The cleverly named Toilet Paper History suggests use of paper products for personal hygiene originated with the Chinese in second-century BC, with the first “modern” roll created in 1391 for Chinese royalty.

“Splinter-free” TP apparently rolled out in 1935. If that doesn’t send a shiver down your backside, you’re made of, or at least used to wiping with, sturdier stuff.

News reporters need to be made of fairly sturdy stuff, given the demands of the job, but that doesn’t mean we are insensitive to public criticism.

Read more: Okanagan shelves wiped bare of toilet paper

Read more: Toilet paper roll selling for $100 on Craigslist as people capitalize on COVID-19 fears

Read more:Toilet paper flying off shelves at Salmon Arm stores amid COVID-19 concerns

Soon after posting a recent story about Salmon Arm’s bout of toilet paper panic, fingers were pointed at we, the media, for being responsible for people’s shopping habits and concerns around the spread of COVID-19. Those who read the story would have seen a repeated message, that proper hand washing is a far more reasoned, proactive approach than hoarding toilet paper, hand sanitizer, etc.

That said, the criticism is still justified. We are being steadily bombarded with COVID-19 related stories, images and videos via traditional and social media. Along with the good information, there have also been some absurd headlines that have undoubtedly added some impulsive buys to our grocery list. (My favourite: Local drug dealer gives up selling amphetamines and moves into toilet paper).

When shopping for groceries last week, there was a moment when I had a package of toilet paper in hand, questioning whether or not to buy it – whether or not we needed it. I put it back on the shelf. We already had enough at home, and I already had enough on my mind.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

COVID-19: Salmon Arm city hall, law courts open gradually as restrictions ease

City staff to remain behind glass, court registry expected to open doors July 13

Speedboat driver sentenced in fatal Shuswap houseboat collision granted day parole

Leon Reinbrecht began serving a three-year sentence in a federal prison in January 2019

New charging station part of South Shuswap Transportation Society roadmap

Director’s Notes by CSRD Electoral Area E Director Paul Demenok

Sicamous to receive $6 million for construction of Shuswap Healing Centre

Federal/provincial infrastructure funding also announced for Chase pedestrian bridge

Neighbours raise concerns about proposed housing development in Salmon Arm

Objections to 11th Street SE plans include increased traffic, diversion of creek, loss of greenspace

84-year-old Okanagan resident finishes 12,000-piece puzzle

Willie Tribiger started the puzzle in 2013, completing it in six and a half years

Aces aplenty at Okanagan golf course

Vernon Golf and Country Club has 14 recorded holes-in-one since April 30

Fraser Valley woman complains of violent RCMP takedown during wellness check

Mounties respond that she was not co-operating during Mental Health Act apprehension

B.C. sees 12 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths

Three outbreaks exist in health-care settings

Lost dog swims Columbia River multiple times searching for home

The dog was missing from his Castlegar home for three days.

Booze on beach extended through summer in Penticton

Pilot project will stay in place until Oct. 15

Sad ending in case of missing Okanagan senior

Body of Vernon man Wayne Orser found floating in Okanagan Lake Tuesday, July 7

COVID-19: B.C. promotes video-activated services card

Mobile app allows easier video identity verification

ICBC to resume road tests in July with priority for rebookings, health-care workers

Tests have been on hold for four months due to COVID-19

Most Read