The Owner and I are watching the road from the Balcony as a Lady loads her car, as the Owner says we have to Stay Indoors.
Why does that very small Lady need all those Toilet Rolls? I ask the Owner. She has at least seventy-two.
People do not always think straight, when they feel under Siege, says the Owner.
Perhaps she has a Great Many Bathrooms, I say. Thirty-six or so, I say.
That seems Unlikely, says the Owner, since Persons with Thirty-six Bathrooms tend not to buy their own Toilet Rolls. It is a Mystery on a level with the appointment of The Home Secretary and the fact that I thought Dominic Raab Charming when he Trod on my Toe.
The Man would not like that, I say.
On the Contrary, says the Owner, the Man expressed only Concern for my Sanity. But I still do not know why the Lady needs the Toilet Roll.
Then Shout Down and Ask her, I say. It cannot be to put in her Bathroom as she has both Blue and Peach. This Makes no Sense.
I cannot do that. says the Owner, it would be Rude. Toilet Roll is a Delicate Matter.
That is far Too Much of it to be Delicate, I say. Whatever Condition that is, it is Beyond Delicate. You should definitely ask her. You are a Doctor, It is your Job.
I do not need to ask her, says the Owner, and Contrary to your Expectations Doctors are not Obliged to Shout at Strangers about their Bottoms.
Oh Really, I Observe Caustically.
I talked to the Vet, says the Owner, regarding your Parts, but that is not quite the Same. Besides, in this case, I may not know why the Lady needs the Toilet Roll, but I know why she wants it. It is the Result of Siege Mentality. The colour Combination is further Evidence. Everyone knows Toilet Roll should be White.
Why Toilet Roll? I ask. I ignore the Owner’s White Toilet Roll comment as there are some obsessions the Owner has that are simply not worth engaging with. Does she fear that the Virus will cause Unprecedented levels of Bathroom Activity at the Rear End? I ask.
No, says the Owner. The Toilet Roll rush is not about the Rear End. It is about the Brain. It results from the Evolutionary Instinct to Hunker Down and Be Safe and Well Supplied at a Time of Perceived Siege.
I see, I say. Although, I say, I understand that the Great Sieges of History were Rather more Reliant on a Reasonable Supply of Green Vegetables than of Toilet Rolls. Did not Masada hold out for so long because of an Underground Well? And Montségur because of secret smuggled supplies from the local villagers? Andrex seems to have Little Prominence in these great Accounts of Heroism.
This is True, says the Owner. However People are Suggestible. I suspect that Something Online suggested there was a shortage of Toilet Paper and this allowed people to Focus on Toilet Paper Shortage as the Existential Threat of the Day. It is like the Run on the Bank in Mary Poppins. Most people identify the Enemy that they feel others have identified. The Suggestion becomes a Self Fulfilling Prophecy. The Toilet Roll Shortage is Created by the Belief in a Toilet Roll Shortage.
So, I say, if we were to suggest to the world that there was a Shortage of Strips of Dead Ox for Moral Dogs, might Moral Owners concerned for their beloved Dogs Rush to Purchase them? Because, I add, I have heard Rumours that Production has stopped on the Ox Farms of Texas.
Only such Owners as were Very Easily Duped by the Tall Stories of Moral Dogs would Behave in This Way, says the Owner. Do you know any Owners Like That?
It seems not, I say regretfully, watching the Lady finish loading her Car. Are we prepared for a Siege? I say.
Up to a Point, says the Owner.
Do we have Cheese? I ask.
We have Havarti, says the Owner, and a packet of the Special Cheese you have to Fry.
The chewey stuff? I say. That is not Cheese, it is an Impostor. How much Havarti do we have?
A full packet of slices says the Owner. I think there are Ten.
Ten? I say. This Siege could last for Months, I say. We must Stockpile immediately. Let us Order Online in Vast Quantities At Once.
No, says the Owner. We will not Stockpile. We will trust that there will be Cheese, even if the Moral Dog is Forced to make do with Cheese that is Chewy. And Besides, Ten Slices goes a Long Way with Tomato and Salad.
You must be Having a Larf, I say.
I am indeed Teasing the Moral Dog, says the Owner. We will be Fine, even without Tomato and Salad. Stockpiling is not Helpful. Supermarkets are not Short of Food. They are just Having Trouble Predicting Stock Levels because People are hoarding. We can be Better than That.
Then we are Doomed, I say.
Hardly, says the Owner. There is Always Muesli. And we have two Very Large Artichokes.
I roll my Eyes. I hope we have at least a supply of Puppy Duck and Rice, I say. You must at least have Stockpiled that. The Moral Dog may otherwise Fade Away.
The Moral Dog is far too Substantial to fade in the Near Future, says the Owner. Besides, if we run out of Puppy Duck and Rice you can have the Cheese. I will Save It for You.
Is that a Promise? I ask.
It is, says the Owner. But there is 15kg of Puppy Duck and Rice in the Bin which you need to eat first. It took me fifteen minutes to Drag it up the Stairs. At the current rate of Consumption that will last more than 30 days.
I Doubt it, I say. I feel Particularly Hungry Already. There will be Lean Times Ahead, I say. I am Growing, I say.
There will not be any Lean Times Ahead, says the Owner. Do not Fall to Siege Mentality. You have to Resist it. It is in the Mind.
There will, I say, because it is Clear that this Meagre 15kg Supply of Puppy Duck and Rice to Sustain the Moral Dog is Entirely Insufficient, I say. And you have Failed to Consider that the Ten Slices of Cheese will Clearly have Passed their Expiry Date when they are needed and I will Therefore be Doomed, I say. I will choose my Hymns, I say. Can I have Cheese is Good above All Other, I say. That is my Favourite Hymn, I say.
Stop it, says the Owner You will Annoy a Passing Vicar.
Moral Dogs do not always think Straight, I say, when they feel Under Siege.
Is the Moral Dog perhaps suggesting that he would feel better if he were to eat the Ten Slices of Cheese Prior to Starting on the Puppy Duck and Rice? Asks the Owner.
How Clever of you I say, I feel better Immediately. I don’t know why I didn’t think of that Myself.
Hergest the Hound
I am a dog of many thoughts.