Coronavirus and the Ration Book

From the next aisle of a supermarket in southwest Florida the other morning, it sounded as if a fistfight might break out. I followed the raised voices and shouldn’t have been surprised: Toilet paper. The argument was over the last four packages on the shelves. One man wanted all of them for himself; the other was furious that the first fellow wasn’t willing to share.

As I watched the men get in each others’ faces, a memory came back, of a tattered little booklet I found in western Nebraska while doing research about American…

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