Adversity Makes Us Stronger – If We’re Smart Enough Not To Forget

Good morning, and happy Friday! I hope your day is off to a great start.

I’ll never forget my first real fight in middle school. That was back in the days when they called it junior high. I’m showing my age. Ricky Brace, the bully of our bus stop, decided I was next on the list of boys to fall victim to his ego-driven need to prove he could beat up people half his size. I hadn’t done anything in particular. He just needed a fix, and I was there.

Somehow, I dodged the inevitable beating the first day, but I knew I wouldn’t get so lucky again. My mom gave me some pointers that involved things like biting, throwing sand, and kicking him someplace where bullies really don’t like to be kicked. Yes, Mom was a country girl through and through. There was no such thing as a fair fight. It was all-out war until only one person was left standing.

That person wasn’t me. I’d like to tell you I put up a valiant fight, but that’s not quite the way it went down. I did get in a couple of good punches, but at the end of round one, he was clearly in the lead and the spectators decided I’d had enough. All told, I took about a dozen good punches to the right side of my face with him sitting on my chest. I almost threw dirt in his face. Okay, I missed.

By that evening my face was turning purple. I’d seen him pound some other people (it was a habitual thing), but none as bad as me. Why? Because instead of laying down after the first punch, I tried to fight back. Mom said, “Well, at least you proved a point!” I was like, “What? That I can take a beating?” That bruising intrigued every school bully for the next two weeks.

But you know, after that day I wasn’t so scared anymore. I didn’t go looking for trouble, but two things happened as a result of that pounding. First, I learned that it wasn’t the end of the world. It sucked, to be sure. But I lived to tell about it. And also, the guys who like to throw punches without taking any in return decided to look for somebody a little less likely to fight back.

Right now, we’re all taking a pounding from a bully that singled us out just because we were there. None of us did anything to deserve this pandemic and the devastation being left in its wake. Okay, some folks ignored warnings, but who among us hasn’t taken a few risks? Yes, we need to take some extraordinary precautions. But that doesn’t mean we can stop living.

And when this is over, we’ll come back even stronger. I know that’s hard to imagine right now, especially as we watch family and friends fall victim to something for which there is no known cure, our economy is in tatters, and more people are losing their primary source of income every day. And still, toilet paper is nowhere to be found.

But I remember something my dad told me after my wife had an especially bad miscarriage that left her hospitalized for a week. He said these are the things that make us stronger in the end. That, by finding a way through crisis we discover a part of ourselves that may have been hiding until then, simply because it wasn’t needed. But it’s there, just waiting until we need it most.


Well, we need it now. And, from what I’ve seen, most people have found strength they didn’t know they had. Not only in terms of staring this thing down with a defiant determination to come out on top, but in our ability to adapt and transform with no prior planning – just the need to survive. And along the way, we’re finding more ways to help those around us.

Hopefully, these are things we’ll remember and carry with us once this crisis is over. If you think back to the overwhelming sense of national pride and unity that followed the 9/11 attacks, it’s hard to imagine that we could have become so bitterly divided in such a short time. Maybe this virus is a reminder that we still need one another, now more than ever.

It’s likely that, before all is said and done, every one of us will feel the pain of losing someone we love, and many more will have to fight the daily battle to beat this thing. But we’ll make it. And the things we’ve learned along the way won’t suddenly become irrelevant. And as long as we don’t let those things slip into the background, we can continue to learn from them.

The greatest lesson of all is that of inner strength. Everybody takes a beating now and then. The important part is that we come through with a sense of dignity, taller and stronger than ever. We’ve done it before. And we’ll do it again, because that’s who we are.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Breathe – This Too Shall Pass

Good morning, and happy Hump Day! I hope your day is off to a great start.

Mine started off completely different. Before I even had my first cup of coffee, I went to the store to see if I could get lucky on some items that have been part of the panic hoarding. You know, a box of macaroni and a small bag of rice. Apparently, these things are part of the miracle cure for coronavirus. I never got that memo.

Since the stores are closed overnight for cleaning and re-stocking, I went at opening time. Well, a half-hour later, complete aisles were empty. It’s pretty obvious what happened last night. At least they were gracious enough to throw away the empty liquor bottles after the party ended.

This will eventually settle down, and then the stores won’t sell any of these items at all for another six months, except to those of us who only bought what we needed for the next week or two. Funny, there’s no shortage of hand soap. I guess if you use enough toilet paper, you don’t need it. Mom, are you listening?

Another thing that’s plentiful is dog food. I went to the store yesterday to hoard … I mean, buy … some of that. The shelves were completely full. I guess if this thing keeps going long enough, we can buy a little extra and mix it with some pinto beans and cheese to make a casserole. I mean, the dog has no problem eating our food. Fair is fair.

I remember when I was a kid walking into Grandma’s kitchen and she was snacking on something. Grandma had one glass eye and was nearly blind in the other. She saw me come in and asked, “Do you want some candy? It’s good!” I said, “Grandma, that’s dog food!” She couldn’t dig it out of her mouth fast enough. It went from tasty to poison in less than a second.

That story would be a whole lot funnier if it really was candy and I was just playing a trick on her. Needless to say, I never tried any. It may have been awesome. I’ll take her word for it.

They say desperate times call for desperate measures. I’m assuming the reason stores are out of Kleenex and paper towels is that, in a pinch, they can be used for cleaning something a little more personal. But when my granddaughter ran out of Kleenex and started wiping her nose with toilet paper, that’s where I drew the line. She can have one of my old tee shirts for that.

I hate to see forced hibernation, but that may be what it’ll take to let this all settle down. We need to get a grip. There is no shortage of toilet paper or any of these other items. They are just temporarily out of stock. That’s all. Granted, if you’re out and can’t buy any, that’s a problem. Just visit your neighbors. Odds are one of them has enough to supply the whole block.

Panic doesn’t solve problems – it creates them. When we approach a problem with a level head, solutions appear. Panic is a reaction that clouds our judgment and compounds problems. Whether the problem is health-related, financial, marital, or just about anything else, our ability to maintain an even keel and work through the problem is critical to our success.

Tackle what you can today, and worry about the rest tomorrow. In that time, some of the remaining issues will resolve on their own. And even if they don’t, you’ll be that much better suited to work through them. You eat an elephant one bite at a time. Do you have enough food and toilet paper for today? Then who cares if the store is empty? Move on to the next problem.

This crisis will go away. It may take a while, and we will certainly have to adapt in the meantime. But the sooner we settle down and face the real problems instead of creating artificial ones, the sooner we’ll be able to get on with the business of living. And that doesn’t stop with the coronavirus. It’ll be that way throughout the rest of your life.

Whenever you’re faced with a mountain of problems, break it down. Some are real problems, and some are perceived. Some require your immediate attention, and some will work their way through with no help from you. Focus on the things you can fix. One step at a time, one day at a time. Breathe in and breathe out. Lather, rinse, and repeat.

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom always to know the difference.” Words to live by, now and always.

That’s all for now.  Have an awesome day!

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Can You Spare A Roll Of Toilet Paper?

Good morning! I hope your day is off to a nice start.

Last night my wife and I were out shopping and I couldn’t help but notice the empty shelves in three sections of the store – disinfectant wipes, hand sanitizer, and toilet paper. There were a few packages of TP left, and we picked one up. Not because we’re afraid of being house-bound in the near future. Our pre-teen granddaughter will be with us next week. Need I say more?

We picked up a pack of 18 rolls that the packaging assures us will last as long as 72 rolls. Okay, I may be missing something here, but once upon a time it took a really big box to hold that many rolls of toilet paper. I don’t care how many plies you laminate together, a roll pretty much lasts a little over an hour in our house. Maybe a little longer when everyone is asleep.

I try not to make light of people reacting to something that can’t really be quantified right now, and is already disrupting lives in more ways than we may be able to comprehend. And it’ll get worse. But there’s just something a little amusing about people with a few items in one shopping cart and another full of toilet tissue. One lady even asked for an escort to the parking lot. I kid you not.

The last time I saw a run on toilet paper like this was in 1976. The nation was in the midst of a mild paper shortage, and late-night host Johnny Carson joked that the shortage had impacted the TP market. I worked in a grocery store and, for the entire weekend, we couldn’t keep it on the shelves. People were in a panic. Not because of a real shortage. Because of a joke.

Granted, this time it’s not a joke. I do find it amusing that a couple of brands of toilet paper seem to be immune to the panic. And if you go to the camping supplies, there’s no shortage of “rapidly-dissolving” toilet paper. As comedian Bill Engvall asked, just how rapidly are we talking about? From what I’ve read online, rapidly enough. Get some latex gloves while you’re at it.

I don’t think anybody knows for sure how badly this virus will impact us, and how long it may last. And I understand people being a little on the cautious side. Still, it makes you wonder, are they stockpiling food as well? Those shelves appear to be pretty well intact. Sales are brisk, however, in liquor stores, which may explain the increase in toilet paper sales. I’m just saying.

Okay, this is a serious issue. That doesn’t mean we can’t appreciate some of the built-in humor. In fact, few things can trigger the release of immune-boosting endorphins like laughter. That doesn’t mean we don’t take the problem seriously, and that we don’t apply some common-sense preparations just in case. But don’t stop living in the process.

Will you catch Coronavirus? According to most experts, the odds are small. That may change over time, and then again, warmer weather could wipe this out in a matter of weeks. Nobody really knows. And even if you do catch it, there’s a chance you may not even know it. That’s both good and bad. Good for you, and bad for anybody you kiss. So, don’t kiss old folks. Except me.

It’s good to have a healthy fear of things that can do us harm, but don’t let that fear dominate your life. Make the necessary adjustments and go on living. Wash your hands. Cover your mouth when you cough. Don’t sneeze on other people. And, for the time being, avoid crowds. It’s pretty basic – the same things we were all taught as children.

But don’t stop living on the off chance something else will come along and do it for you. Adapt and go on. This virus may be around a while, and it may impact all of us in some way. But fear won’t make it go away. In fact, fear triggers cortisol which can, over time, reduce your body’s ability to fight infection. The more we cower down, the more likely we are to be affected.

It’s natural to be afraid of something we can’t fully understand. Follow your own instincts, but listen to the experts as well. Not politicians – experts. Throughout history, populations have survived countless plagues and pandemics. We’ll get through this one, too. And hopefully with enough toilet paper to go around.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved