Lots of things are hard. Here’s something that isn’t.

Excuse me while I have a little rant.

2020 is weird. We are living in the midst of a global pandemic. It’s confusing and scary and I’ll give you that in the beginning, information seemed to change by the day. But seven months in we seem to have a better understanding of what’s happening. Some of the best and brightest are navigating new findings and research as they work toward treatment and a vaccine for COVID-19.

Waiting is hard. However, we cannot simply throw up our hands with despair until then. There is currently (as in RIGHT NOW) a consensus among MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS on how to slow the spread of COVID-19.

We KNOW (as in not theorize or speculate or even perhaps THINK) that a COMBINATION of three things works to fend off the virus.

First, physically distance yourself from others. Ideally, six feet or more.

Then, wash your hands often and thoroughly. Sing the ABCs, Happy Birthday or if you’re in my house, Baby Shark, twice.

And finally, here’s the kicker, people. Wear a mask. And not over your chin or hanging around your neck. But rather, over the parts of your face that project germs onto other human beings, thus, potentially spreading the virus. This includes your nose (where mucus dwells) AND your mouth (where saliva resides).

Here’s what else we know:

This is not hard.

Much like the mantra I used to repeat before leaving the house, “phone, wallet, keys” now, there’s simply one more thing.

Phone. Wallet. Keys. Mask.

Four things. Instead of three. Not hard.

Also, wearing a mask to protect your fellow Americans is not political and is not about your personal rights. One more time…

WEARING A MASK IS NOT ABOUT YOU OR VIOLATING YOUR PERSONAL RIGHTS.

Here’s a situation that’s become increasingly more common. Last week my husband was grocery shopping in an upper-middle class suburb of Ohio. I describe the socioeconomic status because, generally speaking, there are educated, informed people who reside and shop there.

While in the store, my husband came across a 30-something-year-old male with his mask pulled completely off his face, resting underneath his chin. I won’t tell you what the man’s hat said because that isn’t the point of my rant, but feel free to draw your own conclusions. My husband told me the exchange went something like this:

Husband: You’re supposed to wear that over your face.

Unmasked man, smirking: Yeah, I got it.

Husband: Ooh bad boy. You’re a real rebel.

Something to note about my husband. He’s never been a fan of conflict. He’s more of a “sweep it under the rug” kind of guy, preferring to internalize opposition versus facing it head on. Over the years I have embarrassed him on more than one occasion for not being able to keep my mouth shut. A few days before I gave birth to our first daughter, we went to the movies for one last outing. A couple of middle-aged women sat behind us and talked for a solid two hours comparing each scene in the movie to the book that it was based on. When I hissed at the women to KINDLY STOP THE COMMENTARY he wanted to crawl into a hole and die.

So, when my husband told me the grocery store confrontation didn’t end there, I knew he had had it.

I imagined him aggressively wheeling his cart to the checkout line to dramatically flag down someone in management, but in fairness, the most aggressive thing about him is probably his scowl.

Husband to grocery store manager: Why is it acceptable for people to take their mask off once inside the store?

Manager: Well, we aren’t going to say anything to cause a scene.

Husband: Would you say anything to me if I didn’t have a shirt on?

Manager: Probably, but I get where that guy is coming from. I’m an anti-masker.

Husband: Well that may be, EXCEPT YOU’RE WEARING A MASK RIGHT NOW BECAUSE IT’S REQUIRED.

End scene.

But really. How did we get here? When did caring about other people (also known as LOVE THY NEIGHBOR) become political? When did we lose empathy and compassion as a human race? How is preventing the spread of a harmful virus a polarizing notion?

Those refusing to wear a mask are openly saying they don’t care about other people. The scoffing attitude says it. The no mask says it. The reality is you can’t plead ignorance anymore. The virus will not magically go away on its own. We have resources and an understanding of what we need to do FOR EACH OTHER. Maybe you feel invincible. Fine. But there are plenty of people around you who aren’t. I, for one, would like to actually hug my parents sometime soon, instead of having to elbow bump them hello in the driveway. And I’d also like to keep them around for a while.

In case my use of all capitalized words sprinkled throughout this rant was lost on you, I’d like to clarify that I’m doing it to PROVE A POINT.

I hope you took a minute to reflect and think beyond yourself.

It’s only a mask. Put it on.

Please.

And thank you.

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