2 April

My Strange Corona Virus Mail

by Jon Katz

For the first time, my mailbox was full of coronavirus related mail, some of it surprising.

I got a package containing toilet paper from China, which did surprise me, and also two containers of home-made disinfectant lotion and a collage from my daughter and granddaughter in Brooklyn.

I was expecting those.

They are worried about the Old Man At-Risk up in the country, where they assume there are neither sanitary lotions or competent doctors. I’m not sure who ordered the toilet paper, it might have been me.

When the coronavirus furor began, I was startled to learn that toilet paper is not available anywhere in our country (it still isn’t) and as the official hunter-gatherer of Bedlam Farm (I’ve been demoted by Governor Wulf and am confined to the farmhouse).

I vaguely remember ordering some toilet paper online for $8 or $9, but I don’t think it was from China and I have since forgotten about it.

Today this green package was delivered to the farm and it has about 16 small rolls of toilet paper. So it might have been me, anticipating a long shortage.

The sanitizing lotions are brightly colored and seem to have high alcohol content. I believe Emma and Robin made them themselves.

I appreciate having them. Aren’t these odd times we live in? In our county, small quantities of toilet paper pop up from time to time but then vanish.

America is an odd country, I wouldn’t have thought that toilet paper would be the thing that vanishes in a Pandemic.


  1. We had the same thing here in N Ireland and the UK, toilet paper sold out as soon as it was put on the shelves. Then the supermarkets had to limit it to one large pack per customer. Now things have improved regarding toilet paper. Other items that were in huge demand were hand sanitizers, paracetamol and pasta. So our people have had the same concern about toilet paper as the US has. Many jokes have been circulating on fb about this worry about toilet paper, it became a very valuable commodity.

  2. I have two bottles of hand sanitizer, one from France and one from the US. (Both suspiciously in the same design and color of bottle and both have the same label except for the brand name and the manufacturer contact info — but nevermind) Both bottles state: 62% organic ethanol … Antiseptic, and 99.9% effective against most common germs.

    Yeah: I do think alcohol is an excellent antiseptic. The manufacturers (sic) needed to put a lot of oil of lavender in there to cover up the ethanol smell. I think I’d prefer to smell like vodka, but is there even such a thing as a 120-proof vodka to get the right kick?

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