Random Thoughts | Suzanne Johnson

It may not be funny now
Many of us have played the dice game for some nice and some not-so-nice prizes. The dice game for our family is when two pie tins are passed in opposite directions around a circle of seated participants. In the tin is a pair of dice. The object is to shake a matching pair and then be able to select a wrapped gift from the gift pile placed in the center of the group. When all the prizes are gone from the pile, and a person shakes doubles, they can steal a prize from someone else. The game continues for a set amount of time. When the time is up, the person gets to keep the gifts they gathered by shaking doubles. Because the prizes are “so wonderful” some are usually left behind when the people leave to go to their own homes.
In the past, a gag gift would be a roll of toilet tissue. The person wrapping the gift had hopes that people would “fight” over who would receive the enticing package. Even if it weren’t for social distancing and the game was played today, I’m not sure if people would consider toilet tissue a gag gift. For some it is a prized possession.
With the threat of impending Safer at Home orders, people rushed to stock up on toilet tissue. Did you know there was another time in our history when people panic-bought toilet tissue? I didn’t recall it until viewing the show “Sunday Morning” on a day when I was forced to attend church online rather than on-site due to the threat of the COVID-19 virus.
In 1973, when Americans were experiencing gasoline shortages, Wisconsin Rep. Harold Froehlich stated, “The next thing to worry about is a potential toilet paper shortage.” When comedian Johnny Carson’s writers wrote a joke for “The Tonight Show” they left out the word “potential” and Carson said there was “an apparent acute shortage of toilet paper. We’ve got to quit writing on it,” he joked. This sent a false alarm and people stormed supermarkets to stock up on the product. A month later, news anchor Walter Cronkite set the record straight by saying it was “unfounded rumors that led to an excessive demand.” Carson later stated, “It was a joke.” And, “he didn’t want to be the man known to create the toilet paper shortage.”
When watching the “CBS Morning Show” last week, a story was done on Wautoma, Wisconsin. The local doctor was interviewed and he commented, “People who live in rural areas are more self-sufficient. They may have 96 rolls of toilet paper in their homes. That is because they bought them back in January.” Also in the story was a farm family who commented they are “used to isolation.”
I do feel that I am able to handle social distancing better in my home than some others. I usually do have in my home things to entertain me, things such as reading material and crafting items. In fact, I have gotten items out of my “stash” to work on that I hadn’t planned on doing yet. I am grateful that I picked up the items at garage sales and local thrift stores when I saw them. And, of course, there are always the usual things to do such as cooking, cleaning, doing laundry and now spring cleanup.
In the future, when we all get back to face-to-face socializing, I hope we can find humor in some of the things that may have caused us to panic.
By postings I have seen on the internet, people are optimistic and are looking forward to celebrating with others. In fact, I have seen advertisements for Christmas ornaments shaped like toilet paper rolls with the sentiment, “2020, I love you more than toilet paper” written on them. Oh, and by the way, they are being offered for 50% off if you buy 10 or more. But wait, you may have to purchase right away before they become scarce as well.
Suzanne can be reached at [email protected]

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