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EMERGENCY USE ONLY
Wine and Chocolate
Those of us who live in Florida are used to hurricane season. Since hurricane season actually lasts for six months, there are some aspects of being prepared that become a way of life. Most Floridians have a shelf or area where they keep hurricane supplies—bottles of water, canned goods, flashlight batteries, and pet food. We’ve learned to buy items our families will eat and rotate them after each shopping trip so the food doesn’t expire. One year of eating expired Spam and powdered milk is enough to have learned that lesson!
We call it emergency preparedness . . . but with hurricanes, you know the storm is on its way. Having hurricane supplies is kind of like having an umbrella. You know you are going to need them; you just don’t know when.
The past two years of COVID have changed how I think about being prepared for an emergency. Who could have anticipated the great toilet paper shortage of 2020? Or that the supply shortages would still be an issue in 2022? Of all the things people could have hoarded, T.P. was not an item I would have predicted. I would have thought people would hoard wine and chocolate. In my opinion, these are two of the most necessary items if you have to be stuck in your house for weeks on end.
And yes, we got caught up in the frenzy. Regular trips to the store became more like roulette—gambling to see if you could buy what you had on your list. The rules of buying only what you knew your family would eat or use went out the window. It was time to try new things . . . we were in survival mode.
My husband and I drove separate cars and went to different stores in search of the items on our lists. Toilet paper was number one on each of our lists. Before we drove off, he wanted to play a game that I call “The Ridiculous Hypothetical.” He creates these situations just to see my reaction.
So here’s what he said: “What if we can’t buy any toilet paper? Will you use leaves?”
“No,” I replied.
So he raised the ante, saying, “What if I pay you $100?”
I still replied, “No, I will not use leaves if we can’t find any toilet paper.”
He wasn’t satisfied with my answer, of course, and continued, “How about if I pay you $500?”
“Don’t come home without toilet paper,” I yelled as I roared out of the driveway.
When we returned home from our hunting and gathering, we were wearing huge smiles on our faces. We were victorious! We were the proud owners of not one—but TWO—multipacks of toilet paper. There was just one problem. The toilet paper he found was so thin that you could see through it! An unfortunate situation I discovered the first time I used it. I certainly didn’t want that situation to happen again.
Extreme circumstances call for extreme measures.
The offensive roll of thin tissue was removed from the dispenser and returned to the multipack. It was placed on the shelf of hurricane supplies, where it remains today . . . with a note written in bold black Sharpie pen scrawled across the plastic wrapper: EMERGENCY USE ONLY!!!