I WILL be quite candid with you here and confess that I won’t be of much use to you if you are looking for someone to panic. I don’t say this in any self-laudatory way. It’s a failing on my part. Slow on the uptake, d’you see? Slow to react.

At the football, for example, something happens on the pitch and all the other spectators around me stand up and shout angrily at the transgressor, be it an opposing player or the referee. But I remain seated, not sure what all the fuss is about.

Then I think, ‘I’d better stand up with all the other chaps and shout something’, so I get to my feet just as everyone else is sitting down, so that when the player or referee looks over at the source of the abuse, all they see is me standing and shouting in their direction, “And you’ve got a big nose!”, or whatever are the worst terms of abuse I can dredge up from the nastiest depths of my mainly lily-white soul.

Given that CV, I’m afraid I’m not going to be much use in the coronavirus crisis. Like most decent ratepayers, I’ve been bewildered by the run, if that is the word I am looking for, on toilet paper. Is that the most important thing in people’s lives?

Surely, it wasn’t that long ago that there was no such thing? True, everybody died of diseases, but at least they were happy. What was the old rhyme? “In days of old/When knights were bold/And paper wasn’t invented/They somethinged their something upon the grass/And went away contented.”

People are panic-buying. There are videos on YouTube of fist-fights, sometimes involving old ladies, in the loo roll aisle. At the time of going to press, the virus hasn’t yet reached my corner of the Empire, but even at my local Co-op, the loo-rolls had been largely emptied (only “own brand” ones for the leather-bottomed remaining).

The tatties were also severely depleted, though even I would own that, without these, life would be intolerable. I would not, however, punch an old lady for the last Maris Piper. I’d use the Vulcan death grip.

No dignity, d’you see? That’s the problem with a lot of you Earthlings. On paper, you’re fine. Take away your paper, and you become demented.

Of course, you could always use newspapers, which many folk boast of not buying any more. That’ll learn ’em! The retro revival is already under way, and this should give it a boost. Only this week, the influential Daily Star newspaper provided cut out and keep sections of “emergency loo roll”.

A couple of things are worrying me, however. Although I’ve two rolls in at the moment, what happens when these run out? If I buy another pack, it’ll look like I’m panic buying. That said, in the Co-op the other day, I noticed I was the only who didn’t have loo roll in their basket so perhaps they thought there was something wrong with me (“Certainly, his bottom looks peculiar”).

In Australia, a mother of 16 – no kidding – was lambasted by other shoppers for panic-buying multiple loo rolls when it was just her usual shop.

The other thing is, I have a permanent cough, which I think is caused by mould in the bedroom (beginning to regret planting it now), so everyone will think I’ve got the virus and point, shouting: “Unclean! Unclean!”

And then there are your friends. Are you sure they’re not evil carriers? I think we all know folk who happily donate their lurgie as if it were a gift. “Hi, thanks for coming. We’ve both got the lurgie. Here’s some food we’ve prepared for you.”

You’ll have to be careful with folk, I fear. It’s as much for their own good as yours. Remember, where the lurgie is concerned, it’s always better to receive than to give. Consideration, that’s the thing. Ergo, we’re all doomed.

Waste of space programme

THERE’S always been something a bit Titfield Thunderbolt about Britain having a space programme. I’m a connoisseur of 1950s and 1960’s classic space audio dramas – don’t judge me – and even our fictional efforts seem a little parochial and understated.

“I say, is that one of these Martian johnnies behind that rock? I wonder if he has any pipe tobacco?”

Americans: they’re the folk to be going into ooter space. Brash, self-confident, outward-going, able to shoot off a tentacle at 100 yards. Even the Russians should go, to provide a little evil.

I don’t know if you’re familiar with the human race. If you are, you just know they’re going to make a bags of ooter space, squabbling, profiteering, misgendering the aliens and leaving litter all over the shop.

At the time of going to press, Prime Minister Bertie Johnson is being urged to make good on his rash promise of a British space strategy. But, for my money, we should stay well out of it. It can’t be right that we’re thinking about sending spacecraft into yonder cosmos when our roads are full of potholes.

Poop’s my pet peev

I’M not a pets person as the phenomenon plays to two of my deepest phobias: commitment and poop. But even I’m starting to weaken, particularly where golden retrievers are concerned.

Are they the best dogs or what? They’re all over YouTube, playing lovingly with budgies, rabbits and cats, ostensibly smiling and having a bright and intelligent look in their eyes.

In fact, an odd revelation from YouTube is that all animals, from the wicked (lions, birds of prey etc) downwards love to be cuddled. It’s what happens when a source of food is sorted. Only when that’s done can creatures relax, cuddle, philosophise and create art. Deprived of ready-supplied supermarket food, humankind would soon resort to killing budgies and even golden retriever if it filled a hole.

Everything in the world will get better when meat is produced in laboratories. Nothing will need slaughtered again. Every creature will be able to breathe freely. The lion will cuddle the budgie.

From my perspective, however, as much scientific endeavour should be directed towards eliminating poop. For, without poop, the world would be a better place.

Chant be bad

IT’S intriguing to think of playing footer tournaments without crowds. These days, the crowd is accorded as much importance as the players in winning games, which is technically a miscalculation.

There are people now who stand with their backs to the pitch as they exhort – via megaphone – the other fellows (it’s nearly all men in these “ultras” sections) to chant tunes that are largely a variation of “My favourite team, cha-cha-cha!”

In Scotland, when a team goes out of a European competition in the traditional manner, the interviewer asks the foreign manager: “Aye, never mind the result, whit aboot a’ the singing, eh?”

The funny thing is, people post videos on YouTube of fans singing and no one around the poster is doing so. It’s the same whenever I go to a match. No one near me ever sings, possibly out of deference to my dignity.

Whether it’s on YouTube, television or reality-style life, the singing is always elsewhere. I’m beginning to think it’s pre-recorded. Meanwhile, I’m sure the players will be glad of the chance to concentrate on the game without all that distracting racket.