We've reached critical idiot mass - Denny Scott editorial
One thing that’s always fascinated me is the amount of time it takes for things to change in people’s minds. Whether it’s when we start feeling like something is part of our everyday lives, like cell phones or, now, masks, or whether it’s when we’re finally comfortable to talk about a tragic event or even joke about it, I’m intrigued by how long it takes us to get comfortable with things.
There have actually been some studies about the latter that say the sweet spot to joke about a tragic event is 36 days, which, in my opinion, seems a little bit too soon. I follow the South Park rule of 22.3 years.
My question to the public today, however, is when can we stop being passive aggressive about people not wearing masks and start being plain old aggressive about it? I’ll warn you that, like climate change, the need for and efficacy of masks isn’t
up for debate as far as I’m concerned: if you’re one of those people who go on about everyone being “sheep” for wearing masks, take your tin foil hat and go live in a trailer in the untamed north, because, in the parlance of locally-inspired hit television show Letterkenny, “you’re spare parts bud.”
I think that, since we’ve been told for months now that masks can protect those around us, we should all be wearing them unless you have a medical condition that prevents it. So, again, I’ll ask, when can we start treating people who endanger those around them like the ill-informed cretins they are? I’ll give you an example: last month, after dropping off my daughter at school,
I was coming back through Blyth on my way to work and decided to pick up a decaf coffee to start my workday. Unfortunately, the drive-thru at Tim Hortons was backed up to the road, so I decided to head into the store to save sitting and being late.
Before I went in, I grabbed a fresh mask from the pile of a half-dozen clean ones I keep in the car (and wash a couple times a week) and then sanitized my hands because I was just at a school. If there’s going to be anywhere that a disease like COVID-19 will flourish, it’s at a school. (You may be asking yourself, if that’s the case, why do I send my daughter to school instead of homeschooling? It’s a calculated risk. She needs to be with other children to learn socialization and, on top of that, I’m not an educator, so I doubt I’d be able to help her much with her homeschooling or online learning.)
Anyway, I’m very aware of how close to the line of fire having a child in school puts me, on top of the fact that, through my job, I’m not as sheltered as people who are able to work from home or sit in their office day in and day out.
So, as I said, I grabbed a mask, sanitized and walked in where I was lined up behind members of a crew from a local roofing company. I won’t say which company, I’ll just say they are local. In talking with the good, masked-up folks behind the counter, one roofer explained that they didn’t feel they needed to wear a mask.
Three lessons I was taught as a child and teenager were bubbling up and conflicting with each other in me. The first was to treat service employees better. How selfish do you have to be to put service employees like those at Tim Hortons at risk?
I spent a lot of time behind counters working my way through high school and university, including a couple of Tim Hortons locations, so when I see someone mistreating people behind the counter, I’ll usually be the first to say something. This time, however, with the barricades in place, it seemed like a waste of time given the person already as much as admitted they didn’t care about the people behind the plexiglass.
The second was not to suffer idiots. And yes, if you think you shouldn’t wear a mask because it doesn’t suit you, you are an idiot.
In the words of Bill Engvall: “Here’s your sign.”
Lastly there was a voice in my head saying that the fight wasn’t worth it because, no matter how well I illustrated the need for masks, in the words of Mr. Engvall’s comedian friend Ron White, “You can’t fix stupid.”
When I started typing up this column, I put the question to folks: when can we start telling people they’re being stupid and selfish by not wearing masks? However, I’m pretty sure that, after writing it all, I have an answer, for me at least: we’ve reached that critical mass of selfish and stupid that means we’re all allowed to call people out on their bologna.
No one is important enough that their life matters more than everyone around them, so let them know.
For those who have a medical condition and can’t wear a mask: we understand. For those, however, who say they have a medical condition and then order a double bacon, double cheese breakfast sandwich and a large sugar-filled drink, maybe use the drive-thru next time.