Q: Will handshakes ever be a popular form of greeting again?
A: Americans have a tendency to eventually revert to the norm after catastrophic events or life disruptions but this might be different.
Do you find yourself cringing when you see handshaking, whether in person or on TV?
The handshake, whether the bone-crushing vice grip or the limp noodle are likely to become less common. That’s our prediction.
And you know what? It will likely lead to fewer people getting sick of other things in the future.
But we need something other than the elbow bump. Sorry, it’s just too comical-looking and awkward. So get to work on something better in all that spare time you have.
Q: The hoarders have been buying up all the toilet paper, pasta, hand sanitizer and various other things.
But those items are still being cleared out from store shelves every day. Are the stockpilers going back again and again or are more people becoming hoarders?
A: Hmm. Let’s assume most people are decent human beings and are only buying what they need. They’re not saying “I got mine, the heck with the rest of you.”
And those fine people are running out of these things naturally. Thus, the disruption in supplies caused by hoarders has delayed others from buying and now they are.
And the hoarders?
Their behavior is a wildcard, so you can go ahead and assume they’re busily building new structures to store their growing stockpile and still making mad dashes through the stores as soon as they open.
Or if it makes you feel better, assume they’re hunkered down, chin-deep in toilet paper, and we won’t see them again until this is all over.
Q: With oil prices plunging to record lows, why haven’t prices at the local gas station fallen as much and as quickly?
A: The price at the pump has actually fallen quite a bit recently. Mostly elsewhere in the country.
In the Wenatchee Valley, where the price of regular unleaded has hovered near $3 a gallon for months, we are seeing some stations in the $2.50 range.
Some are crediting the rather modest local declines in prices to the state’s big taxes on gas. Indeed, at 49.4 cents a gallon, Washington’s state gas tax in the third-highest in the nation.
But there are still plunging prices out there in the Evergreen State.
GasBuddy.com, which relies on users of its website to update local prices, says as of Monday you could get gas for $1.54 a gallon at the 76 station in Cle Elum, the cheapest price in the state.
In fact, Cle Elum had the three cheapest places to fill up.
At the Circle K in Henderson, Kentucky, where the state gas tax is 26 cents a gallon, the price is $1.11 a gallon. But the trip there isn’t worth it. Trust us.
But the real question hanging out there is where are you going to go once the price of gas here truly plunges?
Since so much of everything here is random speculation, we’re going to say you’re going to the store to buy toilet paper. Because you’re out.
Q: How can I promote responsible behavior on my social media sites?
A: Good luck with that. Wait, you’re serious?
OK then, a good start might be to stop sharing stuff that isn’t from a reputable source.
If you see something interesting and it’s linked to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, go ahead and share it.
But if you see something like “My best friend is an emergency room doctor and he posted this today, (fill in previously unknown information that’s alarming, reassuring or just weird)” don’t share it.
Chances are, wherever it originated, it has been shared so many times the original source is long gone, other than a cut and paste that keeps circulating.
So, look for a link to a reputable site before sharing.
Q: What is a reputable site?
A: Are you really asking me to wade into that?
With so much skepticism surrounding TV news and other media outlets it’s easy to dismiss any and all as information sources.
But CNN, Fox News, The New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today and other national news sources that have been around a long time usually can be trusted for information that’s factual.
Yes, they can sometimes, or often, (hello CNN and Fox News) use any and all news to make political hay, so maybe you don’t have a tolerance for that.
But there are fact-check sites out there you can use to verify what you’ve heard.
For example, Snopes today addressed the claim that coronavirus is being quickly spread through gas pumps.
They said gas pump handles are one of many commonly used objects that could transmit COVID-19 but there are “no substantiated reports of anyone’s having been infected in that fashion yet.”
Q: Are memes trusted sources of information?
A: No. But they can be funny sometimes.