Don’t mock preppers, you may need them in days to come
To the long list of crimes against wokeness and fashionable opinion, you can now add the felony of "making sure your family is looked after in a crisis".
You see, apparently making sure that in the event of some sort of emergency - be it coronavirus or something else not yet realised - your family can be self-sufficient is just another one of those terrible bogan behaviours that makes the smart set, to coin a phrase, ashamed to be Australian.
These too-cool-for-school individuals have been quick to snigger at our expense this week as we added to our trolleys a little extra toilet roll, a few bottles of hand sanitiser plus non-perishables like rice and tinned tuna.
But while I admit the toilet paper thing is out of control, the fact is, if coronavirus strikes you or your family, then a two-week self-imposed quarantine is what you're facing. Which is why stocking up on enough household staples to tide you over is the routine advice in the event of a potential pandemic.
Prepping - I prefer to call it wisdom or common sense - is a life skill that our ancestors used.
But mocking the sight of barren supermarket shelves and tweeting about shoppers squabbling over the last packet of three ply loo roll is clearly a symptom of another virus that plagues our society: The abrogation of responsibility.
The last time I checked we are responsible for our own needs, to be self-reliant to the best of our ability. That's the DNA of adulthood.
And there is a marked difference between hoarding 100 toilet rolls and the job of making sure your family life is safe, whether now or in the event of the next economic or health crisis heading our way.
If you've got an emergency wad of cash stuffed in sock at the back of a bedroom drawer, then why wouldn't you have some non-perishable food and supplies in your home too?
And surely being organised is preferable to dashing from shop to shop in a blind panic?
Don't binge buy quilted loo roll, because you'll trigger a shortage that will only cause more people to panic purchase.
But a sensible inventory of our homes also allows us to claw back an element of control and comfort when every check of the news seems to announce another Sydney resident testing positive for the virus.
Quarantine means no Uber Eats or popping out for beers or to pick up an extra Ventolin spray or getting your roots done.
It means isolation. It means exclusion with only you and the contents of your home to keep you sustained and entertained.
For generations it has been normal practice to stock up on non-perishables, particularly when they are on sale, as a way of functioning to make sure life carries on in the event of an emergency.
Who hasn't had a frugal relative who proudly showed off their pantry stash of paper towels, olive oil, cereal and the like?
They had peace of mind knowing that they were ready if they ever needed it.
Or in the words of virology expert Dr Ian Mackay on facing a pandemic: "Let's face it if we don't start using this possibly scary word and talking about and planning for the possibilities now - how much more panic and fear will result because we were taken totally by surprise? For once, let's get ahead of what's coming."
I do not expect anyone else to feed or put a roof over my family's heads. And even though we're all at risk for the challenges in life, some of us float through scenarios like coronavirus utterly convinced it really can't affect us.
Prepping? That's for the families not sophisticates who dismiss the rest of us, the ordinary Aussies in the burbs and regions, as tinfoil hat conspiracy theorists.
Social media is awash with jibes like this: "Next year's apocalyptic film 'Paper' sees a man fighting for dear life as he delivers the last three-ply on earth to his family in hiding … "He puts the toil in toilet paper"
And this: "So anyone else want to go fling #toilet paper ribbons off a roof … and watch the plebs below scramble?"
It's also mindset of: if I refuse to take responsibility that someone else will and I don't have to do anything.
Pot noodle mega packs and packed wine racks aside, we don't know for certain how severe this pandemic will be. More to the point, believing that there will never be any interruption to supply chains or the systems that make our lives so convenient day to day seems deeply unwise.
Remember when the supermarket EFTPOS systems went down? It was chaos.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison this week urged people to "go about their business as normal'' in a bid to head off panic buying across Australia.
But being sensibly stocked is called being prepared for a rainy day and it's a mantra drummed into some us since we were at primary school. Now we are putting it into action.