Why Toilet Paper?

The reason why people are hoarding toilet paper during this pandemic is actually pretty clear. Though it does involve a certain “leap” in understanding.

You see the, COVID-19, novel coronavirus of 2019, SARS-2 is a Sudden Acute Respiratory Syndrome. When you understand the link between the lungs and the colon, you will understand the rush for toilet paper.

Listen, the lungs and the colon are two sides of one functional coin. In a phrase: Intake and Elimination. They are both on the “front lines” in our interaction with the world around us. Actually one at the “front end,” and the other at the “back.”

When you are newborn your first breath establishes you as an independent being. They slap you on the butt (figure that!), and then you cry! The cry isn’t necessary actually, it just confirms that you are breathing on your own! That is all.

It’s actually quite possible to start life without a slap on the butt and a howl! It just happens to be convention. It’s easy for the otherwise busy physician, who might not have time to await the baby’s natural impulse to breathe! So, however it happens, the first breath establishes the first stage of independence from mother.

Yet, at least two other major concerns still keep us dependent. To eat and to clean up our own poop! As infants, we cannot yet feed ourselves. We depend on mother for that. And of course, though we poop on our own, we don’t yet have the ability to clean up after ourselves. We depend on mother, and often father, for that too.

Indeed, this cleaning up of poop is often the only role that father has in the early parenting phase. Dad doesn’t have working mammillary glands, so instead of having a job at the front end, he has the job at the back end. (Many a night time diaper change by this veteran father will attest to that!)

Indeed, diapering and then a couple years down the line potty training, make up a large part of our early childhood experience. To become truly independent human beings, in addition to breathing on our own we must learn to feed ourselves and eventually, to clean up after ourselves!

So, here we are, Covid-19, Sudden Acute Respiratory Syndrome – 2. By threatening our breath, it threatens our independence! Frightening in its life threatening dimensions, it also means that in that sickened state, we will drop back into dependency. We will become dependent on people, medicine, machines to keep us alive. And we won’t be able to wipe our own butts!

Is it any wonder that we would rush for toilet paper? Besides being a very convenient method for cleaning up after ourselves, it is also a symbol of our independence. I breathe on my own. I feed myself. I wipe my own butt.

My lungs and my colon, my own intake and elimination. My own independent “front and back line” with the world around me. Pretty basic. It’s personal empowerment at its most basic level.


That’s why people are rushing to hoard toilet paper in the face of this pandemic.




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