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Warning: TP jokes dead ahead

This is an official test of the emergency attempt at humor broadcasting system. If it were true humor you would be instructed to tune to Comedy Central. I repeat, this is only a test, of your forbearance.

May eyeballs roll with carefree abandon. Something needs to be allowed to move about freely. Speaking of rolls, may toilet tissue lie abandon on store shelves so that those of us with an obvious lack of foresight for what is truly important in a crisis can purchase some. That’s only one TP reference. I refuse to promise it’s the last. The subject is simply too pliable to ignore for my purpose. I’m working on another song parody.

Laughter is medicine. We need large doses now, of which there is no shortage. Please save your lectures about propriety in the face of a serious threat. In fact, write them down and store them where your TP would normally sit. I think we or our loved ones have all been directly affected by this temporary challenge. So, sit tight and relax your facial muscles.

Seriously, though, I’ve learned a few things from this major time out. First, I’m doing more of what you might call cooking these days. I’ve discovered that broccoli-cheese soup tastes a lot better than it smells. Also tortilla chips will serve as a passable meal if you combine them with a boiled egg and a handful of nuts, but they go down easier if you didn’t forget the salsa during your once a month grocery scavenge.

Got beans? If so, my guess is you’ve also got a fifth wheel full of TP. One reminder here to monitor your grocery consumption. Those chocolate bars I got were scheduled to last three weeks. Shopping tip — do your bulk shopping in the foreign food section, the area where things come from England or Sweden, such as lingonberries, for instance. Shortages are fewer for Garibaldi Biscuits, Bisto Gravy Granules, and vegetable suet. Also marmalade. I mean, who doesn’t love saying marmalade on toast with a British accent?

One reminder for we more mature loners cooking at home — turn the burner off after your gruel is done. I’ll wait while you go and do that now. Here’s a genuine tip: Lettuce will keep far longer in a crisper, so place your lettuce inside leaf by leaf after it’s rinsed, and put a half paper towel between layers. Lettuce will stay crisp until you need it for TP. Hey, they used catalpa leaves in the good old days. As you utilize your lettuce, remove the paper towels, let them air dry and use them for, you guessed it!

I’m learning things and making observations I never would have in my other life. I’m reminded that people are darned hilarious. I don’t think I’ve laughed and cried so much in such a brief period of time. I’ve also become acutely aware of how dirty my windows are, since watching birds feed is now a mainstay of daily thrills. A dump load of seed is scheduled for tomorrow. Now that we’re encouraged to be antiseptic, everything seems dirty. I’m becoming Monk. I wear a ski mask with goggles and carry a fishing pole around, with barbless hook, to fend off anyone veering within my six-foot radius of safety.

I’ve quieted down enough to watch the slow yet deliberate progression of nature in springtime. Not funny, just true.

The world has never seemed smaller. We need one another more than ever, yet we’re kept at double arms’ length. I find that fascinating. Good things are happening in the midst of peril.

I followed through with the idea of hanging the Christmas star, which shines in the window evenings and mornings unless I forget. Maybe it will cheer or encourage someone. Perhaps my neighbors are justifying their assumptions that I’m an odd bird. That’s OK.

Stay home, stay safe, save lives, everybody. See you on the flip side soon. Meanwhile, stay tuned.

Peggy Dover is a freelance writer. Reach her at pcdover@hotmail.com.