APFwebs

Off-season

I awoke with a strange image.

I thought of old mainframe impact printers, with three-part fanfold paper pulled by side sprockets, sandwiched with carbon sheets. Of all the operators in the machine room (the room in which folks managed—or served—computer devices) the lowliest was the print operator. Managing the print output was equivalent to wiping the computer’s butt.

I tried to remember the words to make the fanfold paper fit for human use. Trim, decollate, and burst: remove the sprocket strip, remove the carbons and separate the plies, and separate the fanfolds into individual sheets. The machines that performed these tasks would—of course—jam at times, creating a horrid mess. No toilet paper for that.

My bathroom has three drawers. Two are about two feet deep and about eight inches wide, each with an adjustable shelf. Just by habit we use one for toilet paper. We buy toilet paper in large packs because it’s cheaper. So, by habit the drawer is full. Not because we’re hoarders: just because we’re cheap. The drawer may hold as many as eighteen rolls.

So it was that Covid-19 arose. Long before it reached the States I read about hoarding toilet paper in times of crisis. Sure enough, when Covid-19 reached the States, grocery shelves of toilet paper went bare. My bathroom drawer was (is) still full. We didn’t panic and rush off to the store. (Our drawer takes awhile to empty.)

I looked online, though, and tried to find why there was so much interest in toilet paper in times of crisis. All I could find was talk of “herd mentality”. No special interest in wiping butts. Go figger.

Hashtag of the times: #StayHome. Covid-19 has gone viral.

I wonder how many TV folk are still going to work to keep us supplied with endless reruns during idle hours at home. TV news anchors now practice social distancing: the weatherdude is in a studio different from the news desk.

I saw the Santa Fe New Mexican editorial cartoon, March 18, “Group Hug”. It showed five folks far-separated, arms extended. At home alone, I’ve longingly watched much TV with folks near each other.

They’ve danced, kissed, rubbed, patted, hugged, shaken and held hands. They’ve whispered in ears and gently wiped tears. They’ve sat side by side. Remember crowds?

Used to be, we thought nothing of it. Now, trim, decollate, burst.

You don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone.