Chanda Veno

Chanda Veno

It’s difficult to grasp how much the world we knew has changed in just a handful of days due to the coronavirus.

Just last weekend, we were preparing to settle in for a monthlong basketball binge — the girls’ and boys’ Sweet 16, dozens of college conference tournaments capped off by the NCAA tourney — a Kentucky rite of passage.

Now, all hopes of hoops — or any sports, for that matter — have been benched. Schools are closed. Activities and meetings are called off. State jails and nursing homes aren’t allowing visitors. Courts are postponing trials, social distancing is a thing and the whole world has gone mad hunting for toilet paper.

I get the correlation between a spreading virus and the need for consumers to purchase Lysol, soap, hand sanitizer and other germ-fighting products. What I don’t understand is why so many folks are stocking up on TP.

Certainly Mr. Whipple and the creepy, clean heiny, Charmin bear family are pleased with the increased sales, but it’s not like the person who hoards the most toilet paper wins and avoids becoming infected.

Breaking news: Amazon only has single-roll novelty TP. Even the luxurious, expensive quilted sheets have been sold out in stores. This is nonsense, people — especially for those of us who don’t stockpile for the apocalypse.

Many stores in the U.S. are imposing a cap to limit how many rolls a person can buy and some groceries are hiring security guards to patrol customers.

One Australian newspaper, The NT News, even resorted to a practical yet unconventional way of helping to solve TP shortage problems by printing eight extra blank pages in a recent edition for those in a bathroom pinch. The State Journal has no plans to print blank newspaper pages and would highly recommend not using newsprint to do that deed unless you want the latest local news on your derriere.

But desperate times call for creative measures. For instance, if you find yourself in a bind, cut a roll of paper towels in half, use tissues or old fabric. If you don’t mind the stiffness, receipts — especially the scarf-length ones from CVS — are useful alternatives and as an added bonus, “Look, Extra Bucks Rewards.”  

The coronavirus outbreak has also changed the way we express ourselves. High fives, hugs and handshakes have been replaced with elbow bumps and thumbs-ups.

Over at B’s Bakery employees have taken to doing “jazz hands,” a gesture originating in musical theater, in which the hands are waved rapidly to and fro with the palms facing forward and the fingers splayed, instead of touching. At DaVinci’s Pizza, owner Craig Blanton said workers do an ankle bump.

Each day we have taken to watching Gov. Andy Beshear’s twice-daily press conferences, and the American Sign Language interpreter, Virginia Moore, who also serves as executive director of the Kentucky Commission on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, has become somewhat of a folk hero in our newsroom. We missed her and her facial expressions when a different ASL interpreter was used on Thursday morning and on Friday when the internet and audio feed kept cutting in and out, we were all wishing we knew how to sign. 

Whether we realize it or not, these are unprecedented times but we will get through this, regardless of how much TP we buy.

Chanda Veno is managing editor of The State Journal. She can be reached at chanda.veno@state-journal.com.

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