It’s Just a Mask

I have frequent sinus infections, some so bad that I do end up going to the doctor’s so I can get some steroids to make me feel better. Sometimes to the point I can’t even leave the bed because I get so sick from them. Pre-COVID, when I would go to the doctor’s office, they would give me a mask while I sat in the lobby and waited to be seen. Why? Because if it’s not a sinus infection like I think it is and it was a more serious respiratory infection, the mask was for the protection of others in the space. Pre-COVID, this measure was merely seen as a precaution and was accepted with no issue. There were other people wearing a mask, presumably for the same reason. Did we judge each other? Did they throw a toddler-level tantrum over it? No. They understood that them wearing a mask was in the best interest of everyone else in the room. It was just a mask.

It seems silly to me that today a mask is a political statement. If you wear a mask, you’re a sheeple that wants to be controlled by the government. As said by the sheeple, who blindly follow conservatives trying to sell this as fact. The problem isn’t the mask; the problem is the extremists on either side of the debate. The worst part is? The rest of us reasonable people are suffering as a result of this. I did the right thing. I wore my mask on the rare occasion I left the house. I sometimes still do, depending on where I’m going. I got the vaccine. I stayed away from family and friends, for my weak-ass immune system’s protection and for my family’s protection. If everyone else did the same instead of making it into some political hill to die on, we’d be out of this mess already. But people so stubbornly hold on to whatever Newsmax/Tucker Carlson conspiracy and MSNBC talking point that they want to. The harder that one side pushes, the other one pushes back.

No. I don’t believe that you’re a martyr for not wearing a mask or getting vaccinated. I’ll still be friends with you and not be an asshole. I’ll stand by my thought that “play stupid games, win stupid prizes”, but it’s a person’s right to play those games. Whether or not they do, not by business. I’ll still be there pulling for you if you end up in the hospital. But you’re not winning any martyrdom prizes from me. I will blame these stubborn ideals for the fact that we’re going to be dealing with this thing forever because people want to take their medical opinions from Google, the same place that turned people into anti-vaxxers that won’t give their kids a measles shot and oh look, what are we dealing with now? Measles. At least that was the talk of the town until a global pandemic hit us in the face.

It’s just a mask. If I go up to an establishment and they say “masks mandatory” or “masks encouraged”, I do what a reasonable human being does and pull a mask out from my purse. It’s just a piece of material that goes over my face, so that all the people throwing a fit about it can just seem my eyes roll, rather than me snickering at their childish tantrum. Will the kids probably need to wear a mask at school? My oldest son’s college already said there was a mandate. I imagine that the elementary and secondary schools will follow. It’s just a mask. My youngest never throws a fit about wearing one. If the parents make it seem normal, the kids follow along easily. It’s just a mask. I really don’t know how many ways to say it or how many more times I need to say it: IT’S JUST A MASK.

Asian countries have been wearing masks for as long as I can remember. They wear them when they are sick and out in public as to not get other people sick. They don’t see it as a political statement. Hell, even if COVID was done by cold and flu season, I was absolutely going to keep going on with the masks during that period to not get others sick and to give some small level of protection for myself. Why? Because it’s just a mask.

We learned a valuable lesson, one that if the survival of humanity is dependent on selfless acts of others, we’re doomed. If people can’t even wear a simple mask to “be of service to fellow man”, how can we expect them to do something more than than?