I'm sure most of you have heard of prepping and preppers, and you might have made fun of those people from time to time, and I expect that most of us are not in a position to grab our bug-out bag and flee to the woods, where we have caches of food and supplies buried, and maybe even a cabin hidden in the wilderness. That almost sounds like fun to me, and I do have a cabin in the wilderness, but I don't have a thyroid and I'd run out of Levothyroxine in a month since, for some reason, I can't get anyone to write a prescription for more than a month's worth, although I doubt that it's a commonly abused drug. Nevertheless, my wife would be ready to give it up before the sun came up on our first night there, most likely, if I could even get her that far. The idea of no electricity or running water would be a deal-breaker. Still, unless you live in a big city or in a country where there's no place to run away to, you're probably aware of such people. I know one family who has an eighty-acre parcel of wilderness, and another hundred-acre parcel that includes an island in the river separating the US from Canada, and I know that they were well stocked and prepared. But he's older now, suffering from serious cancer, and is about to move to Michigan to live near one of his older children. There have been television shows about preppers and about prepping. Sometimes they are portrayed in a friendly light but, in movies and television dramas, they are usually the people who die shooting it out with the police, or who are finally persuaded that they are loony tunes, after which we are led to believe they might live a more normal life after a stint in the funny farm. Whatever our opinions of preppers, most of us probably don't consider ourselves to be preppers. Of course, there are degrees of prepping. Using the definition that simply suggests being prepared for eventualities, I have always done some of that. When I first moved to California as a young man, I couldn't feel sure that my job would still be there next week. Although I've never had a history of losing jobs, this was my first time on my own, so there was a degree of uncertainty. Aware of this, when I did my shopping, I'd buy a little extra of things that had a long shelf life, such as, at that time, canned foods, dried beans, and rice. When I could, I would even pay a month ahead on my rent. This wasn't stuff that I would pack away, never to be used unless I found myself in dire straits. No, in the course of regular meals, I would eat some of it, and buy other stuff to take its place. Although I didn't consider myself to be a prepper, I was just making sure I wouldn't starve before I could find another job. So I have always had that mindset, which wasn't so different from what my parents did, canning vegetables and fruit, storing potatoes in the potato cellar, and having a meat locker full of beef, pork, and venison. I didn't do that so much when I was living in Texas, mostly because my job was by no means going to be in jeopardy since I nearly always had a few offers that I could choose from if I ever wanted to make a change. Besides, living on the Texas-Mexico border, someone would just kill me for whatever I might have stashed away. I rarely even cooked at home while I was a paramedic, anyhow. Since I have been in Maine, we have bought a fairly substantial stock of dried foods, dry beans, rice, and things with shelf lives from 7-25-years, including fruits, and when I come across a good price on something that I know we'll use, I'll buy it in bulk. Nothing crazy, I don't think, since we have a big house. It would mean foregoing a lot of stuff that I enjoy eating, but I think we could survive for at least a couple of years without going to a grocery store. This alleviates a lot of the concern over empty store shelves right now and, particularly since I also work from home, and I'm paid through PayPal so I don't even have to mess with banks. If I were single, I probably wouldn't leave the house, but not because I'm panicked over the coronavirus. I have little doubt that I would survive it with or without medical intervention. It's just that people are so nutty right now, and I don't really have much of a reason to leave the house. We did go to Bangor a couple of days ago because I wanted to sign the petition for a woman we know who is trying to get on the ballot to run against Susan Collins. We stayed in a hotel and returned home the following morning. There were no extra rolls of toilet paper in our hotel room, as there usually are. Since we started out with less than a full roll, we did have to ask for another, and that wasn't a problem. Apparently, guests are stealing toilet paper now as they have always stolen unused soap, shampoo, and conditioner. At the restaurants, there were no regular menus, condiments, sugar, or napkins on the tables. They were available, but you had to ask for them. Abbreviated disposable menus were brought out. Other than that, things weren't too nutty. Of course, we didn't bother going to any of the stores. Back to the point, although I don't consider myself to be a prepper, I was prepared, not particularly for this emergency, but for any unforeseen problem that might have resulted either in our being unable to purchase food and supplies, whether it be a matter of unavailability of goods or of the money to buy it with, and I am happy that we were. I did not have a large stock of toilet paper or paper towels but I did think to order some while it was still available from Amazon.com, so I haven't felt the need to fight over them at the Dollar Store. Staying in the house would almost certainly save me from any chance of getting a virus except for one thing. My wife is out and about every single day so she is certain to bring home whatever might be out there. She had a cold before I caught my last one, and she had the flu before I had the flu last year. In fact, she's out searching for the coronavirus right now and, if she finds it, she will bring it home to me like the dead mice my cat carries home. I'm not overly concerned, however. I had a cold when I saw my doctor for my annual checkup, and she didn't feel the need to test me for COVID-19 and agreed that the biggest problem with the coronavirus is panic and that the media is the most at fault. The same was true at the hospital, where I went to have my blood drawn. No one here has caught the virus but most people have caught the panic.