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Now, along with Charmin and Wonder Bread, yet another shelf is suddenly devoid of what has turned out to be a critical product… Clairol. For those of you who have no idea what Clairol is, it is hair dye; Ronald Reagan’s and Wayne Newton’s favorite hair dye.

This peculiar paucity perplexed me, I asked my wife that universally useful question, “Why?”

Her explanation was nothing short of epiphanic. “Hair roots.” Yes, people, I give you fair warning of this newly recognized, growing sequela of COVID…dark hair roots. Yes, this COVID-induced frenzy in the haircare aisles of America prompting such an unprecedented run on Clairol, fueled by hair roots, trillions and trillions of dark hair roots to be more precise.

Apparently, one of the side effects to the virus is dark roots. Being the astute diagnostician, I knew something like this was coming the moment the nation’s governors began shutting down beauty salons and barbershops.

I originally gave it three weeks until 90% of the nation’s population began to look like the legendary hermit extraordinaire Howard Hughes, that 1950s eccentric millionaire and failed bra designer for Jane Russell (Google it) who sequestered himself on the top floor of the Las Vegas Desert Inn. It might come as no surprise neither Hughes, still exists, nor does Jane and Jane’s bra.

The truth will be revealed…that not all women are real blonds. The fear of stunning public revelation one might not be a real blonde has infected more humans than the COVID virus itself. The only known treatment for this sequela rooted in the roots is Clairol or L’Oreal. So, along with hydroxychloroquine and Z-paks and ventilators, the president and governors nationwide are now faced with a critical shortage of L’Oreal and Clairol and hydrogen peroxide.

I was at my now favorite (and only) vacation destination, Safeway, and could not help but conclude society as a whole is rapidly approaching the Howard Hughes level of slovenliness, a condition I choose to call the Howard Hughes Slovenliness Syndrome (HHSS).

Judging from the appearance of those few sociopathic, mask-less, hoarding halfwits still ignoring the “Fauci Zone” six-foot invisible cocoon, those idiots still walking the wrong way thru the Piggly Wiggly aisles in search of toilet paper and Wonder Bread and hair dye, I have concluded masks have yet another benefit. Besides providing some degree of protection against a lethal pandemic virus sent from China with love (apologies to Ian Fleming for bastardizing his literary tome), these masks prevent the vision-threatening ocular assault, engendered by such dullards, aka the Denizens of Walmart.

Now that I too have achieved this henceforth unattained level of personal “disgrooming”, I am seriously considering taking up my rightful position at the nearest stoplight. I have constructed the mandatory cardboard sign conveniently derived from the remnants of my latest Amazon delivery, a pair of excessively priced Oakley sunglasses. In fact, I find the Amazon “smile” logo an unexpectedly charming touch to my unassuming Magic Marker slogan, “GIVEN ME YOUR DAMNED MONEY YOU HEARTLESS SUCKERS!”

Understand, Howard ended his rather eccentric life looking far worse than the current scourge of society…the omnipresent homeless stoplight-stationed, cardboard sign poet laureates and Biblical scholars “Anything helps, God bless” and fulltime panhandlers.

Now, it seems, given the mandatory closure of Great Clips et al, the whole of American society is achieving this singular look once reserved for the “homeless”. The difference, of course, is that most of us, while looking slovenly, still bathe. You can tell the difference between a professional sloven from we newly anointed amateur slovens by the hovering fly count. Yes, the real

Alas, I have in the interceding three weeks grown enough hair to gather together a vestige of a ponytail, a secret desire of mine since the late hippie-culture 1960s. Thus, I am mildly grateful that my dream can now be fulfilled, much to the horror of my family. I have not yet advised them that along with the ponytail comes the hoop earring and braiding of my beard. I draw the line, however, at prison-quality facial tattoos.

In fact, given this unexpected but appreciated side effect of the “wearing of the mask”, I am proposing that, following the conclusion of the pandemic, we all continue wearing masks… particularly if you are a frequent inhabitant of the hair-dye aisle at Walmart.

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