I still can’t fathom why some individuals have had such a hard time adhering the recommendation that we all wear masks in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic, in order to stop the spread. People have become downright defiant when it comes to the mask issue—as if the powers that be are perfectly gleeful that we get to wear a face covering during the summer months when it’s poised to gather our sweat and bad breath. (Click here for a perfectly appalling story regarding mask backlash: https://www.yahoo.com/news/woman-arrested-assault-over-mask-122509877.html)
The wardrobe accessory of this season makes no one feel better while wearing it, because its purpose carries a delayed benefit. It is likely to keep us well in the future by helping to stop the spread of COVID-19. But back to delaying gratification. Isn’t that a hallmark of maturity? It’s representative of one’s ability to temporarily abstain from something now in order to reap a greater, better, or healthier reward somewhere down the line.
I continue to feel shocked at how “grown” people are outraged they must change their schedule, their routine, or dress code in order to safeguard the greater good that is humanity. I’d like to freely go to the gym and take a Body Pump class. I’d like my favorite restaurant—one that serves wine and gourmet salads along with popular kid-fare—to be bustling and serving at 6:00 p.m. tonight instead of closed for business forever more. I’d like to go watch an MLB game with my family, plan an exotic vacation, and to have many of my past clients and favorite brands back in business instead of having gone belly-up!
I’m inclined to insert an unsatisfying saying that I normally hate here, because I begrudgingly admit that it seems appropriate: It is what it is, people. If we lived in 1350, we’d be worrying about the bubonic plague epidemic (a.k.a. Black Death); if we lived in 1860, there would be cholera to contend with; if it was 1918, we would fear of the Spanish Flu.
Since the beginning of time pathogens have waged silent wars on human health and we’ve had to deal with it or die. Living in a modern society chock full of conveniences—where whims are indulged with a keyboard click—does not guarantee that such horrid illnesses are gone for good, antiquated, or somehow now obsolete.
As M. Scott Peck, M.D. reminds in his enduring book of wisdom, The Road Less Traveled, on the first line of the first page: Life is difficult. Period. According to Buddha and his Four Noble Truths, life is also suffering. If you aren’t into noble or religious realities, then consider this for the cynical perspective: Death and taxes are your only guarantees.
Earth, and our existence, cannot be taken for granted, so please wear the friggin’ mask until we’ve safely stemmed the tide of COVID-19. It’s a messed-up world but I want to be around to see my teenage son grow up and come into his own.