Thursday, October 1, 2020

Literally almost nothing

Stepping away from movies for a moment for a sincere observation/rant. It's about masks.

I'm a pretty ardent mask-wearer. I work in healthcare, so I wear one whenever I'm at one of our clinics or administration buildings, only taking it off when I'm alone in my office. Ditto for everywhere I go out in public, which isn't very many places these days as we still consistently pick up our groceries and takeout. 

Heck, I even arrange for curbside pickup at the hardware store.

So I admit I'm continually flabbergasted by all the people I encounter still not wearing masks. Some insist they're cumbersome or annoying or dangerous to your health (wrong!) or that the government doesn't have the right to mandate their usage (possibly, but you should still wear them).

The thing I really don't get is that finding and putting on a mask is just so... easy. You can buy cheap cloth ones or there are a million places that will just hand you a free paper one when you walk in. I've got them stashed literally everywhere, including all my cars and in the pockets of jackets. You can buy neat superhero or alien ones.

Not only is wearing one not that big of a deal, in time you actually forget you have one on. On many occasions I've driven all the way home from work before remembering to take mine off. My 7-year-old will have three-hour outdoor play dates while masked the entire time.

Wearing a mask is so not hard, I've come up with a phrase for it: literally almost nothing. The effort to wear one is so infinitesimal it barely even registers as anything. Asking people to do literally almost nothing should not provoke so much pushback.

As we all know, wearing a mask does not protect you from coronavirus. It protects others from you. Wearing a mask doesn't say, "I'm afraid of others," it says "I want to protect others." You can have COVID and not even know it, and wearing a mask is the single best proven method -- other than total isolation -- to prevent you from spreading it others.

I know, I know -- the disease is generally only fatal to the very old or those who already had preexisting conditions. Yes, this means those weaker than the rest of us. Those are the folks we're trying to keep safe. They are our parents, grandparents, friends and others we love.

I don't know about you, but I was taught from an early age -- especially as a male -- that protecting the weak was the duty of the strong. So when I see a big, strapping guy who refuses to do literally almost nothing to protect the old and sick, it violates some kind of basic barrier inside my psyche. Like cannibalism or incest, it's something you should just know at an instinctual biological level is wrong.

Yes, literally almost nothing is still... something. Not very much of a something. But if your answer to the question, "What are you willing to do in order to guard the vulnerable?" is "absolutely nothing," then you're nothing in my eyes.

Please. Wear a mask anytime you're around others. Even more so than a vaccine, it's the best tool in our toolbox to beat this virus. Like most important things humans have accomplished, it requires that we do it together.

Plus, it makes us all kinda look like badass bandits. Be a bandit for love. Pledge to do literally almost nothing.

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