‘That’s Not Going to Do It’

The kid really did want that hooch for “medicinal purposes.”

I spotted him walking up and down the aisles, until he finally settled on a nice cheap bottle of vodka and another bottle that I think was gin. I myself had no wine to go with my planned repast tonight of one DiGiorno’s pizza, so my only errand necessary at this time, when we are being encouraged to be hermits due to the COVID-19 pandemic, was a quick trip to the local booze store. The kid, who in another multiverse likely cruises with his crime-sleuthing pals and talking dog hunting down ghosts and goblins, told the cashier specifically that he was buying the hooch because he couldn’t score a bottle of sanitizer anywhere.

The cashier assured our young Shaggy that no amount of Skol vodka one would apply, externally nor internally, would be useful in countering this particular corona virus. Tito’s said so.

As I ventured into the parking lot with my box of Franzia Cabernet (nothing bet the best for this connoisseur) I observed the kid loading up his Magic Machine. He was stacking his new medicine into a box, and I also saw loaded in his truck several gallon bottles of water. No lie. The kid was getting ready.

This was my second observation of peoples’ prep plans for this emergency. Friday night’s lunch break at work was a quick trip across the road to Top’s supermarket. I needed some hand lotion, as I get this weird seasonal eczema that craves that stinky aloe and menthol cure from the green bottle, and I was running out. That’s all I needed, well, that and a carton of grapefruit juice. Look, I’m a single dude living alone. I get to go on weird grocery runs.

That place was a madhouse. People were stacking their carts higher than they stood. And Tops was out of bread, and they were especially out of toilet paper. They were so out of toilet paper that the store put up signs in that aisle that said WE ARE OUT OF TOILET PAPER. I got in the lightest line I could find and paid for my skin lotion and my citrus juice. That, I think, was my first inkling about how much this pandemic was fixing to hit everyone’s lives.

And now, somewhere, some kid who looks exactly like Norville Rogers (yes, Shaggy had a real name) is somehow applying booze as a topical in the hopes of defeating a particle that can survive in the air for several hours an aerosol.

I have lived through a good many emergencies in my day. I have experienced an active shooter situation (long before they were called that). I have hunkered down during hurricanes. I had to dodge and weave as I pumped gas while two maniacal snipers terrorized Washington D.C. I saw the Pentagon’s smoke as I walked home from downtown D.C. to Arlington on September Eleventh. And I was trying to think if any of those events caused me to wish I had gone on a panic shopping spree. I can think of only one: Snowmageddon, Washington, D.C., 2010.

I grew up in the Cleveland metropolitan area. So I know from snow. But I have never in my life ever seen snow like this. And neither have you. I couldn’t walk to the car for several days, to the car. I was stuck inside. Literally. Fortunately, my housemates were better prepared than I was, and I bummed off of them.

Aside from that, hoarding isn’t useful. Nor, according to the local booze cashier, is washing in vodka.

I hope that kid has a bunch of orange juice.

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