How to survive a pandemic

Surviving a pandemic
Where’s the toilet paper? Publix at Shops at Sunset Lakes, Miramar, FL – March 2020

Warning: Parts of this article are written tongue-in-cheek.                                                        If you don’t like humor, or you think it’s too soon, click away.

I have survived Fidel Castro’s communist Cuba, Hurricane Andrew, Y2K and Sept. 11, 2001.

While those events seem to pale in comparison to COVID-19, I’ve compiled a list of things to help you survive this latest “Armageddon” life has thrown at us. I’m not making light of what’s happening in the world these days, but laughter is still the best medicine.

And so, in no particular order, I give you Trading Barbs with Barbs’ Top 10 Ways to Survive a Pandemic, or at the very least, sidestep the pandemonium.

#1: Watch Netflix. Or Hulu, or movies on demand, or anything except the news. Give yourself a break from the 24-hour news stations. Trust me when I tell you they don’t have enough new things to say about COVID-19. So if it’s starting to sound repetitive, that’s because it is. Wash your hands, stay home. Back to you.

#2: It’s not a toilet paper pandemic. Full disclosure: During Hurricane Andrew, I spent most of my time in the bathroom pooping my brains out. Maybe COVID-19 is having the same effect on people. But even if we don’t find the exact source of the current TP hoarding craze, one economist offers a theory and a bit of comfort as well. Bottom line: There’s plenty of toilet paper to go around.

#3: Unfriend the energy vampires. We love social media, but please don’t add to the panic by feeding the rumor mill. The National Guard is not coming to take you away. They’ve got better things to do at the moment.

#4: Don’t drink the chlorine. Seriously? Yes. There’s a rumor going around that drinking chlorine will kill coronavirus. It will. But it will kill you too. This isn’t even remotely funny. It’s the sad reality of what happens when people don’t heed #3 above. You want the facts on how to stay healthy? Get them here.

#5: Don’t argue with your 92-year-old mother. She has survived a hell of a lot more than you have. The proof?  She’s 92; you’re not. You’re a fool to argue with her.

#6: Don’t argue with your spouse. And don’t take your stress and frustrations out on those you love. Working and living with someone in close quarters 24-hours a day makes for some interesting relationship dynamics. Just walk away.

#7: Elderly does not begin at 60. If you call people in their 60s elderly, you could be in more danger than if you tested positive for COVID-19. Govern yourselves accordingly.

#8: Don’t do politics. If you hear rumors about our government building a wall around China, remember, that’s already been done.

#9: Go get free stuff! There’s a lot of cool, free virtual stuff being offered online. From free meditations to ease your anxiety to virtual tours of museums worldwide, it’s there for the taking. Even some newspapers have lifted their online subscription rates, so take advantage of what’s out there for the taking. Google “Free stuff during COVID-19,” and go get it!

#10: is your friend. Fake news existed long before it became a Twitter trend. Before you post or share stories that began circulating when the internet was born, visit to check their validity. At the very least, check the dateline and the original publish date on a story before sharing it. (Also see #3 above.)

Most of all, take care of yourself, write letters, call people, and listen to the voice of reason and sanity.

Give thanks. Humanity has survived a lot worse than COVID-19.

We got this.

Author: Barb Besteni

I've been in a writer long enough to know that change is not only inevitable, it's what keeps us going. Don't fight it, don't fear it. Embrace it and have fun.

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