In case you hadn’t noticed from all the mask wearing people around you, we are in the middle of a pandemic. As I am writing this, which on ‘first draft day’ is January 21, 2021, over 400,000 Americans are dead from Coronavirus. Whether you believe this number is real or not, I can tell you that I personally know a number of people who are dead that wouldn’t have otherwise been, and a very large number of people who have suffered quite a bit. This disease is no joke. Even if all 400,000 didn’t die of COVID-19, I know that all the hospitals around me are over capacity, which is scary. Something is sending people to the hospital with respiratory problems.
So what can we do about it? I, personally, am generally useless when it comes to medical stuff. I can make a doctor’s appointment and point to the cabinet where we keep the Band-Aids and Ibuprofen, and that’s about the end of my skill set.
I know that when I am ill I should stay at home so that I don’t infect other people. If nothing else, that’s rude. I try to live my life by the golden rule – do unto others as I would have them do unto me. I wouldn’t want them to get me sick, so I won’t get them sick. The problem with COVID-19 is that you can walk around with it for two weeks and not know you’re infectious. The last thing I want is to be the cause of anyone else’s undeserved suffering.
When I sneeze or cough in public in non-pandemic times I do the elephant thingie and do it in my elbow if a tissue isn’t handy. This is because I know that in the spray is germs and I don’t want anyone else to get the germs, even though I know that my elbow is not exactly something that will keep the environment safe from biohazards. It will help. And every little bit helps. Masks are that same concept, but all the time. They’re just constantly holding up your sleeve to your mouth and nose.
This is why I do not get why masks are controversial. Either masks help or they don’t. But they don’t hurt. At worst, they are a minor annoyance. At best they will help us stop the spread of a virus that can kill, if not us, then our vulnerable friends and family members. I have friends who are doctors and/or microbiologists and/or immunologists, and they uniformly say that masks will definitely help stop the spread of COVID-19. Let’s just assume that since they are humans they are capable of being wrong. My mask is infinitely less uncomfortable than the waistband of my jeans after 9 months of a pandemic, and I would never consider not wearing pants.
If I have a chance of helping the community around me by doing something small, I’m going to do it. That’s what the social contract is. If you live in a society, you have to alter your behavior from time to time to accommodate the society. I share a bedroom with my husband – I can’t turn on the lights and read at 2 a.m. if I can’t sleep because that would wake him up. It’s the same concept. No one is asking me to donate a kidney or give up half my paycheck. We’re talking about a three-dollar reusable mask.
When you have options, be kind. Be generous.
Be of service to others. Don’t
think, “How will this best serve me?” but “How will this best serve the people
around me?” Maybe wearing a mask will do
nothing, but maybe wearing a mask will ensure that someone’s beloved grandmother
doesn’t get sick or die. Does that sound
overly melodramatic? 400,000 funerals in
the past year, 400,000 families grieving, 400,000 holes in at least as many
hearts will tell you otherwise.
 Deserved suffering? Totally different story. I am down for that. Just ask my kids.
 Or, frankly, in private.
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Lori B. Duff is an award-winning author who practices law on the side. Her latest book, “If You Did What I Asked in the First Place” was awarded the Gold Medal for humor in the Foreword INDIES awards in 2019. You can follow her on Twitter at @LoriBDuff and on Facebook. For more blogs written by Lori, click here. For more information about Lori in general, click here. If you want Lori to do your writing for you, click here. If you want Lori to help you market your book, click here.