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Looking At The ‘Martha Stewart Of Viruses’

I was really late to the coronavirus starting line. I thought the whole thing would last for a news cycle and be gone.

After all, how many earth shattering events can we take in a 36-month period? I couldn’t imagine we had room for one more.

So, there were many millions of people that got a headstart buying toilet paper and hand sanitizer and I was one of the people standing in a grocery store aisle with a vacant look on my face and an empty cart, as if I were starring in my own dystopian novel.

Where was I when the apocalypse came to my corner store?

The world is out of hand sanitizer thanks to the first million shoppers at the beginning of this crisis who bought 10 bottles each for themselves, believing a lifetime supply would be enough to make them feel better about the times we’re living in.

But necessity is the mother of invention; I decided I’d make my own. I just needed some aloe vera and some isopropyl alcohol and a little ingenuity. And maybe some goggles and a fire extinguisher.

I love those moments when you think you’re so crafty, so ahead of everyone else, that you’re going to save yourself by doing something no one else thought of. They’re humbling moments, to be sure.

I ran to the drug store to buy some aloe vera only to be laughed at by the store clerk.

“Oh goodness,” she said, “we ran out of that weeks ago.” I guess I wasn’t the only one who thought of making it myself.

Fine, then I’ll make my own aloe vera, I told my husband, imbuing myself with the confidence of a chemistry major who had a supply of lye and glass test tubes in her garage.

You can’t even buy lye or glycerin anymore, because there are others like me who decided they’d take matters into their own hands they’ve sold out. We might all survive the coronavirus, but not the makeshift labs in our neighbors’ garages.

I told my husband to go out and buy anything gel-like and let me tell you, he came home with some interesting things. Fortunately, in my daily foraging trips into the wilds of strip malls and shopping centers, I accosted a store clerk who was setting up a new display of suntan products and I came home with a bottle of aloe vera holding it up like I’d just won the lottery.

I set out everyday at 6 a.m. like one of those foragers walking through the woods with a basket to visit five or six stores to see what I can find. This morning I found a jar of name-brand peanut butter at a gas station store, along with another bottle of isopropyl alcohol and a tiny bottle of bleach.

I’ve made my own virus-killing cleaner with bleach because there’s no more cleaners on the shelves. And honestly, I’m just about done playing Martha Stewart with the coronavirus.

Tonight on TV they showed a government building in Ohio and a politician was discussing how they were going to sanitize a voting poll for their Tuesday primary.

And the camera panned over and didn’t they have shelves just full of Lysol and hand sanitizer and antibacterial wipes and every kind of virus killer you could possibly imagine.

If you’re wondering where all the good stuff went, it’s in Ohio.

I sat up and said to my husband, “Look at all those cleaning products on the news! They have a storeroom full of the stuff that I wake up every morning to find, and there it all is. I wonder if they’re handing out bottles of Lysol to thank people for coming in to vote.”

Folks, if you had told me a month ago Lysol would become the new gold, I would have laughed. But I’ve considered exchanging my toilet paper for a bottle of bleach. As a mother with many a Kool-Aid stand on my resume, I have no qualms about setting up a table outside and conducting business along the curb.

I keep hoping I’m going to wake up tomorrow and find the world has returned to normal. Instead I’ll probably be hunting down a bottle of 180-proof vodka.

In case you didn’t know, you can use high-proof vodka as a hand sanitizer if you’re really running low. Beyond that, I have no other sanitizing recipes to offer you. I’m fresh out.

Stay well everyone.

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