By the time you read this, I will have gotten my second COVID-19 shot, mainly because of the screaming and crying I’ll be doing afterwards. As a result, I may not need to wear a mask all the time, provided the CDC doesn’t flip flop like John Kerry in cheap sandals working a VFW pancake breakfast. However, I’ve made up my mind to continue wearing a mask indoors.
This isn’t a decision I’ve taken lightly. On the one hand, I’ve spent a good chunk of change on cool-looking masks that show my appreciation for different fandoms. On the other, my glasses keep fogging up, so I have to readjust my masks on a regular basis. But there was one factor that tipped the scales for me.
Now, I’m not just talking about making others feel more secure or giving them one less thing to worry about. I’m not even talking about being accused of being an anti-vaxer/conservative/Republican/Trump supporter/science denier/whatever new name the Left wants to call me today. I am, however, talking the people who have taken it upon themselves to be the Mask Police.
Even before COVID-19 was a thing, there were people who constantly wanted to get in other peoples’ business for one reason or another. Usually, it’s because they don’t have lives of their own and want to create drama so there is some excitement to talk about. Plus, it feeds a need in them to be righteous (even if it’s the self variety) and to virtue signal.
And neither one is worthy enough to warrant such people to act.
Good luck trying to tell them that, though. Judging from my thankfully few interactions with them, they don’t seem to be the most open-minded of folks. And as a male in a family where stubbornness is a feature instead of a bug, that’s saying something if I’m the one pointing it out. What sets these folks apart from a Gladys Kravitz type is the fact they feel justified in causing harm to others in the pursuit of their goals. If one of them sees you infringing upon what they think the rules should be, it isn’t that much of a stretch for him or her to figure out who you are, contact your employer, and advising them of the kind of scumbag you are (to them). If not that, they’ll publicly shame you, often with high pitched screaming that would make dogs turn their heads to the noise.
And that’s why I’ll keep wearing a mask, if only to save my hearing. The larger point, however, is why we’re allowing the self-professed Mask Police to dictate how we act, whether it be indirect action like me wearing a mask to avoid confrontation or direct action like punching them in the nose. They are nothing short of bullies, and I’ll bet more than a few of them talk at length about online bullying because, well, zero self-awareness.
But it’s all about personal responsibility, right? To a point, yes, but not to the point the Mask Police take it. With the Internet, we have access to tons of information we might not otherwise have, and a good chunk of that is personal. A post on Facebook here, a mildly controversial statement there, and before you know it, you’re worse than Hitler. And if you think I’m exaggerating to make a point, I only wish I were. There are news reports by the thousands of people being harassed offline for actions and sentiments taken online, and it’s not just the Trump fans, either. We have reached a point where we run right for the nukes when all we need is a fly-swatter all because we think we’re right to do it.
But here’s where I part ways. In some cases, it’s necessary to expose a scumbag so others know about it and can take or demand action be taken to rectify it. But not everyone is a scumbag. Yes, not your BLM-loving sister-in-law or your Trump-loving cousin, and certainly not a complete stranger you ran into at the Shop-N-Save. You have to know your boundaries, and I’m afraid the Karens and Kevins of the world don’t.
That’s where we come in. As much as I don’t like to start conflict, it’s come to the point where I feel I have to step in to deescalate these situations or at least take the heat off the person being targeted. Because even though I wear a mask, it doesn’t mean I’m excused from duty when a situation gets heated. If I want to live my life without harming others, I have to allow others to do the same and stand up when someone is harming someone else.
That includes you, Mask Police. Nobody appointed you to this task, so you have no authority unless I give it to you. I’m masking up so you won’t have to find out what happens when I dig in for a fight, but don’t think I’ll knuckle under if you overstep your authority. Let me put it this way, in the words of a great philosopher.
Don’t start none, won’t be none.