My niece’s next door neighbour lamented that he had to go to three hair cutters- when the edict was lifted, but none would cut his hair because he refused to wear a mask. Finally he came home and had his wife do it. I say good for those hair cutters, and ponder deeply, Why are people so stupid?
Tom Hanks interviewed by Lester Holt expressed his disappointment that something so simple as wearing a mask was eschewed, people unwilling to play their part in preventing the spread of Covid 19. Robyn Urback in Thursday’s Globe reinforced that theme by lampooning the need to drive with eyes open. Eh, why bother if you’ld rather snooze en route to your destination?
When we think of societal norms, there are those easy things all community members participate in. For example, we do not run around naked, we no longer spit on streets, we gather our dogs’ poop from our neighbours’ lawns, we wait for stoplights to turn…so what is the big deal in wearing a mask, especially in times of contagion?
Actually this reminds me of a controversy at the law society, Stop SOP, or Statement of Principles, when members were asked to initial a sheet that underscored the values of the profession such as truthfulness, honesty, ethical behaviour. Or you could write your own statement. But many went ballistic, infuriated to the eyeballs that they were being asked to sign off. To my way of thinking, if you live out those qualities of decent professionalism, why not admit to them- proudly. Many lawyers scoffed and refused the check off. Reminded me of OCT’s Standards and Ethics of the Profession, gleaned and gathered from teachers, but proud to share their stories that illustrated care, responsibility, judgment, empathy…
Maybe I’m naïve and oversimplifying, but truly, why should anyone be enraged and so engulfed in fury to refuse to stand up and acknowledge good citizenship? Being brought up in a household where my parents lived out the tenets of being good members of our society, I’m confused at the behaviour of those refusing to contribute to societal norms of safety by wearing some kind of face covering. My parents never cheated, lied or mislead, modelling in my sister and me, the way one leads a decent, honorable life. It was no big deal.
I do admit that truly in some areas, many norms can be seen as ridiculous, for example when my cousin returned from California to court a former girlfriend, wearing white pants in winter. He was the talk of the town – and the family who never let him forget his misdemeanour in fashion sensibility. I suppose that went along with wearing gloves and Easter bonnets. So many years ago. However, long standing principles, those values that have endured throughout time, those selfsame ones of compassion, kindness, courtesy have persisted. Or at least I thought they had, for our kids and grandkids.
The virtues of kind behaviour, again, in my nuclear family, such as caring for the elderly was an unstated mantra. How many days after a full load of work at our store and family care would my mother drag herself over to my grandmother’s, 40 minutes by foot, to check on her health and safety? Easily five of seven days . And when my father made an appointment for a service call to check out his hi fi units, he arrived on time, no matter he was on crutches and there were no curbs broken down, no special permits for the handicapped. My parents never boasted they were doing their civil duty, fulfilling the mandate of good participants in a shared society. They were just living their lives. Even as my mother aged, her face lit up as she referred to that both my sister and me as “ good citizens”.
To wear a mask is such a small thing to do. In deed, you can even wrap a handkerchief around the bottom of your face. And it could save someone’s life. So I ask again, what is the big deal?
In society, we have shared rules. To protest such a tiny inconvenience is an embarrassment, a cowardly way to demonstrate that you oppose the safety of others. These behaviours sadly belong to the Trump supporters, even here in Canada, those who could care less about others, denigrating immigrants, making racist remarks, building both real and symbolic walls, following narcissism, selfishly, ultimately destroying the freedoms of all of us .
I say it again, if you could save one person, wouldn’t you do it? What if that person were your son, your wife, your daughter, wouldn’t you help?
No one is sending you overseas with a gun, no one is even drawing your blood, you are only being asked to wear a mask, less invasive than an extra pair of socks, really only one sock, not a gag, a piece of soft fabric to contain your sneeze, your cough, your spit: the spit you keep in your mouth anyway, so frankly, what is the big deal?