American Elephants


How to Survive the Current Covid-19 Crisis and the Economic Crisis As Well. by The Elephant's Child

The situation here with grocery stores pretty much sums up the situation nationally. Our grocery stores manage to serve our city population of 122,363 efficiently and without shortages or any particular problems. We have a wide variety of grocery chains, some smaller local stores, significant numbers of ethnic specialty stores ranging from the huge Uwajimaya to some catering to Russians, a variety of Eastern Europeans and a number of Mexican Taco trucks. The larger chains have added ethnic foods to their regular stock to appeal to the latest groups added to the workforce at Microsoft, Amazon, or the smaller businesses that depend on the giant employers. No empty shelves, and if something is missing you hardly notice.

Now, everyone is ordering their groceries to be delivered. You start with a delivery time which will probably be 5 to 6 days hence, and try to figure out what you will need by then as well as what you are out of now. I am currently OUT of coffee, and getting testy.`One chain tells you as you go along what they are out of now, the other doesn’t tell you what they are out of until you submit your order, and then you have to start over. And was it a matter of brand or language, or are they out of the whole category? The whole experience suggests that people are really “stocking-up” (hoarding) in case they have trouble finding that product next time. The more you find that they are out of something makes you want to stock-up as well — and so it goes.

The same thing is going on nationally, and not just about groceries. People and pundits are attacking the president and all of his advisors. The experts he consults are criticized, because the critic would have consulted someone else instead, and doesn’t like what the expert had to say. Governors issue lots of orders, many of them misguided, whine about supplies they are not receiving, do not  appreciate what some of those still working are going through on their behalf. The truckers who are trying to deliver the needed goods cannot find food or restrooms along the highway. Which is a valid symptom of what everyone is faced with in one way or another.

Take a deep breath. Most of these people are trying to avoid any and all unnecessary deaths, and to protect the living from contagion — as their first and most compelling task. That is going to mean a lot of discomfort for others who are worried about lesser problems. Read that book you set aside a while back. Go the Hillsdale College website and take an online free course in history or government or economics for that matter. Start researching and writing down your family history.  Write your own assessment of the current world situation for your children or grandchildren or the local newspaper. Learn to knit or draw. Plan a summer vegetable garden in pots or planter boxes. Type in “All About Birds” in the search bar of your computer, which will lead you to Cornell University’s website which offers just that, and plan a bird feeder or hummingbird feeder for your yard or window. Learn how to play Cribbage. Look into the history of sailing ships or early aircraft. Or just write down a list of 20 things you would like to learn about or learn how to do, and — start.

Or perhaps, write a critique of today’s mass media, and the current job of reportage. Do you think they still have journalism schools? And what are they neglecting to teach their students? Are you utterly fascinated with what the latest celebrity has to say? And why not? That should keep you busy for a while.



A Short Essay on Modern Life, Or Something Like That. by The Elephant's Child

4886682532_b29722fd6b_bI had to go to the grocery store yesterday for a few things, and I was annoyed when they hadn’t gotten in any more strawberries. And I considered my annoyance. End of November in the Great Northwest and there are no fresh strawberries? How quickly we get used to the comforts of modern life. I can certainly remember when strawberries came in the few weeks when the local strawberry fields actually had fruit on the vine.

I picked up a package of 3″ x 5″ scratch pads — the kind you write your grocery list on, and discovered that the package of 4 pads was — imported from China. So there you go. Two direct reminders of how times have changed and in spite of all our complaining, we are blessed with plenty.

So I bought a package of fresh raspberries instead, and added two containers of fresh blueberries and went on home.  (Sorry!  I’m easily amused.)




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