Dear Luv Doc,
Yesterday I was gassing up my car (outdoors) while not wearing a mask because a) I am vaccinated and b) I was OUTDOORS and there wasn't anybody within 10 to 15 feet of me. The lady at the next pump over who was wearing a mask was cussing at me under her mask and glaring at me like she wanted to murder me. I wanted to tell her that her mask might be good for stopping germs but not for stopping sound, but I decided not to say anything because I didn't want to make a fuss. She seemed really worked up. Why is it some people feel like they always have to shame people even though they don't know the whole story and don't bother to ask?
– Unmasked and Undangerous
There will always be a percentage of the population that is plagued by an unhealthy amount of undue anxiety. I'm not sure there is much you or anyone can do to change that. Certain people are always going to just freak the fuck out. If you're lucky, you'll never end up in their platoon. Nothing is more dangerous than a control freak who has just figured out the situation is beyond their control.
Truth be told, I am not sure the human brain has evolved enough to handle the shitstorm of information coming down the lightpipe about COVID. While it's true that most COVID information is delivered in a calm, rational tone that says, "It's cool, just do your part and we'll all get through this," there is also an undeniable percentage that is disproportionately sensationalized for dramatic effect. It's like being in a perfectly functional lifeboat with one guy screaming, "We're all going to die!" Even if he's a complete fucking idiot, he's hard to ignore and really bad for morale.
Nonetheless, even a few thousand deranged, isolated voices screaming from the wilderness of the interwebs ends up sounding like a cacophony. A real COVID headline might be: "Yes, the current menu of COVID vaccines appears to be more effective than the flu vaccine," but the headline that gets plastered all over the interwebs is, "OH MY FUCKING GOD, A TRIPLE MUTANT STRAIN OF COVID HAS BEEN FOUND IN INDIA THAT IS MORE DEADLY AND RESISTANT TO VACCINES!!!!!" Surprise, surprise, a certain percentage of the population starts wearing six layers of N95 masks and slathering themselves in hand sanitizer just to retrieve their DoorDash delivery from the porch.
Now, I fully realize the preceding paragraph will probably earn me a swift lynching by the hall monitor crowd, but I am by no means a rat licker. Far from it. Like everybody else, I have been buried in a bunker for the better part of 14 months worried that the Death Eaters are going to fly up my nose, but the truth is, I am statistically more likely to be taken down by heart disease. And guess what? DoorDash delivers the fuck out of some Cheesecake Factory. You don't see that headline on the Headline News text crawl, do you? Why? Because this is America and we're cool with a slow murder as long as someone is making a dime on it. Oh, and by the way, 7-Eleven is offering 365 free refills on Big Gulps if you buy a special 30-ounce stainless steel, vacuum-insulated Tervis tumbler for $139. Americans are about 100 times more likely to lose a leg to Type 2 diabetes than stepping on a landmine in Afghanistan – and we're pulling out of Afghanistan, but we're doubling down on Big Gulps.
Now, I realize there might be a few witless yahoos who read the preceding and decide, "What's the use in getting vaccinated? We're all gonna die of something." To them I say, "Drink all the Big Gulps you want, but get your fucking vaccination." This isn't about you killing yourself; it's about you killing others. No one wants to lose a friend or relative just because you can't muster a fundamental understanding of herd immunity. But yeah, no one needs to lose their shit playing outdoor mask monitor either. Rational thought might seem elusive these days, but keep in mind humans have been doing it since we went bipedal. We just need to calm the fuck down.
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