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The Needs of the Many vs the Needs of the Few

By Pearl Bullivant on August 19, 2020 in Satire

Spock for PM. Photo: Leonard Nimoy

In my capacity as COVID-19 ambassador to the prime minister, I had promised in this month’s column to provide my faithful followers with “Pearl’s Guide to Pedestrianism During the COVID”. Alas, I am sorry to disappoint those who require Pearl’s guidance in negotiating the unwritten rule of keeping to the left on the footpath, but with a rapid increase in the number of active virus cases, Pearl felt an urgent need to address the issue of toilet paper hoarding before it again takes hold like a violent bout of gastric.
I can appreciate that a second wave will not feel ‘real’ until it hits the Eastern Suburbs and that most of you are probably thinking, “Where the hell is Casula and Merrylands?” (even the hosts of Sunrise, renowned for whipping up mass hysteria, could not be bothered to pronounce ‘Casula’ correctly) but if the toilet paper depleted shelves of Western Suburbs supermarkets are anything to go by, it is time for a taste of Ambassador Pearl’s tough love.
I was tempted to begin my rant by asking what type of sicko hoards toilet paper but, somewhat ironically, hating on hoarders is not socially acceptable. Even the reliable Fairfax press has turned to the dark side, supporting the illogical behaviour with columns such as, “The Toilet Paper Hoarders Turned Out to be Right,” and “Confessions of a Toilet Paper Hoarder” – very disappointing indeed.
Pearl, apparently, should be putting away her big broomstick and instead delving into the psychology of the hoarders’ actions, as it all comes down to ‘personality type’. According to studies, toilet roll hoarders are conscientious people, diligent and organised perfectionists who overprepare for difficult situations in life, craving reassurance that their needs will be catered to in a time of crisis – all traits very familiar in the highly competitive Eastern Suburbs, and certainly not ones I would apply to the toilet paper fiends captured on video in Woolworths Chullora.
It is refreshing to see that these studies have been done now, because how the hell are these conscientious perfectionists going to behave when the real shit goes down?
But let’s be real, dear Beast readers; when did control issues become an excuse for bad behaviour? Hoarding is inexcusable, anti-social and unfortunately reflects the type of society our politicians have created. We like to think we are all in this together, but we are really only in it for ourselves. Where is our concern for others? Vanished with the embers of the bushfires?
Running out of toilet paper is not life-threatening but catching the virus could be. Hoarders are not what society needs right now – a person who behaves so appallingly during a mini crisis will always behave that way. Pearl is telling it like it is; hoarding is selfish and unethical and we, as members of the ‘village’, have an obligation to others. To quote one of my favourite philosophers, Star Trek’s Spock, “Logic clearly dictates that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few,” and logic, rather than conscientious perfectionism, is what we need right now.