‘Can we all get along?’ not a punchline

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Back on March 9, I was attempting to purchase sanitary wipes for our workers at Gaming Today to use to wipe down their work stations at our offices.

Not necessarily a noble gesture on my part since I would be using the wipes as well. But I figured it would be a smart thing to do. After all, why not take any preventative measure available during the coronavirus outbreak?

Mind you, this was prior to mandatory stay-at-home directives from Gov. Steve Sisolak. The hysteria was just starting to kick in and had not yet shifted into overdrive. 

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After striking out at conventional grocery stores and even an Office Depot, a guy recommended I try Home Depot, which was located in the same shopping center as the supermarket, which was also out of water, toilet paper and antibacterial soap as well as the aforementioned wipes.

So following the advice of the President — What the hell did I have to lose? — I drove over to Home Depot. I walked in and headed toward the household cleaning supplies aisle. I noticed there were still wipes. I was thinking to myself, “Yessss!”

Suddenly, this 30-something woman comes running past me, faster than you can say Florence Griffith-Joyner. She makes a beeline for the wipes and is grabbing the remaining eight canisters.

Now I’m no Carl Lewis or Usain Bolt. But I did quicken my pace and I confronted the woman.

“Hey!,” I shouted at her. “What are you doing? How about saving some for the rest of us?”

I’m not normally a confrontational person. But this episode of gluttony pissed me off.

The woman (sow?) had a brief moment of civility and she put three of the eight cans of wipes back on the shelf. She cast me one of those John Chaney death stares that he used to use on referees and John Calipari when he coached basketball at Temple.

I took two of the three remaining cans of wipes. After all, I didn’t want to be accused of being a pig myself. A woman who had witnessed my confrontation with the sow came up behind me, grabbed the last container I had left and said, “Thank you for doing that.”

I told her “You’re welcome” and went to the checkout and left the store feeling I had done something good for humanity.

The point of all this? Each of us has experienced the frustration the last couple of weeks of trying to get the items we need to sustain ourselves during this national crisis. And with the mandatory shutdown of all non-essential business in Nevada, the desperation is only going to get worse. 

I fear we’re going to see fights in stores and perhaps more escalated confrontations on lines just to get into the stores. I anticipate heightened frustration as people find empty shelves in looking for toilet paper, for antibacterial soap, for disinfectant wipes. I see parents reaching their mental and emotional breaking point as they try to maintain order in their homes while trying to figure out how to pay their bills and at the same time, keeping their children occupied.

But we’re also seeing the flip side. We’re seeing civility among us. We’re queuing up outside of Costco and Trader Joe’s without chaos. We’re making conversation with total strangers while maintaining safe social distancing. We’re seeing the generosity of those who are trying to help the less fortunate get through this. The casinos, which are losing millions of dollars, are donating food to their employees as well as food banks across the country while individual restaurant businesses help stock food pantries and try to assist in feeding the homeless. 

I wasn’t around for the Great Depression. I wasn’t alive during World War II. But my parents and grandparents were and they told the stories of self sacrifice and working together to combat a common enemy and they maintained those life lessons long after the events were relegated to the history books.

I hope you’re coping well on a morning that normally would be filled with Little League baseball and soccer games, a trip to the race and sports book or to the casino in general, to your neighborhood bar and restaurant for dinner, perhaps even a trip to your place of worship.  

This disruption in our daily lives is tough, no question about it. We are all creatures of habit. But we are also creatures of resiliency. We are pretty good at adapting. We may not like change, but we can embrace it.

That said, as we transition our daily lives and when we do come into contact with each other, let’s do it with civility. Let’s be compassionate. Let’s use this difficult time to bring out the best in each of us. 

As the late Rodney King famously said: “Can’t we all get along?” Let’s make it more than just a punch line. Let’s make it a mantra and we’ll get through this a lot easier and less painfully.

 And one last thing: quit hoarding the damn toilet paper, will ya? 

About the Author

Steve Carp

Steve Carp is a six-time Nevada Sportswriter of the Year. A 30-year veteran of the Las Vegas sports journalism scene, he covered the Vegas Golden Knights for the Las Vegas Review-Journal from 2015-2018.

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