Some time ago – I came upon a new term in the vernacular lexicon – an artifact of the sad, COVID-beleaguered world we currently and unfortunately live in. The word was a clever play on our current living conditions and was intended to apply to anyone refusing to comply with current health and safety restrictions for reasons based only on personal preference or convenience (in a word, selfish). A side note here, because I know the subject of mask-wearing in public triggers a varied range of reactions across an equally varied base of people – here’s
where I stand on the subject:
- I realize that the jury is still out on the effectiveness of this measure as a mitigating factor in the virus spread – we still know FAR too little about the nature of this virus, BUT……
- Since that is the case, does it not make perfect sense to take every reasonable precaution available to us to slow the spread of the illness and/or reduce the risk of infecting another? That being understood I want you to know that I personally hate…
- Wearing the damned thing – they aren’t comfortable, I agree…
- Needing to remember to always have one with me and on whenever I go out somewhere (as on wit put it: ‘Like I’m Batman, or something”
- Not being able to understand the masked clerk speaking to me (behind a ½” plexiglass shield) – or having them understand me, clearly.
Anyway, lest this turn into a two-page rant about the inconvenience of COVID, I will close out this section by making this observation, then move on to the main point: During Operation Desert Shield, later Desert Storm, I spent over nine months of my life living in Bahrain in the Middle East – a small island, completely surrounded by water and connected to mainland Saudi Arabia by cause way. The average daytime temperature there was about 90 degrees and the relative humidity almost always matched or exceeded that number. Through those nine months we worked 12-14 hour days , ate, slept and played (as much as possible) in full MOPP gear, consisting of heavy, charcoal-lined anti-contamination suits, rubber gloves (with liners) and rubber booties that came up above our shins – not exactly comfy tropical weather wear – add to that the fact that each time a threat was perceived, or detected we had to don a full face and head – covering gas mask and rubber hood, keeping them on and in place for as long as the condition persisted
9sometime minutes, but oftentimes, hours on end). I say this not in search of credit, but to illustrate the point that, given my background, complaining about having to wear a paper mask over nose and mouth for the duration of your shopping errand seems a little self-centered on comparison. If not downright ludicrous.
The word; ‘MASKHOLE’ was offered imploring people NOT to be one of these types. I thought it at once clever, apropos and more than a little amusing. However, since that time, I have come to realize that a far more prevalent problem is also afoot here, which allows a new, expanded application of this term and is the topic of my missive here, today:
The spread of this disease is no more aided by ferocity of the virus than it is by ongoing ignorance, stupidity and outright selfishness of the people it affects/infects and, ironically are trying to avoid it. Ever have a cold or the flu and run into someone you know while at the store, etc.? Ever say “don’t get too close, I’m sick? Of course you have – it’s the right thing to do – kudos to you for that.
Also, ever watch a medical /doctor/hospital show on TV? If so, ask yourself this question: WHAT do the Docs/nurse/technicians all do with the PPE they are wearing when they take it off? Quick answer – they dispose of it immediately – typically in a sealed container that is prominently marked “BIOHAZARD” (you’ve seen these on the walls in your doctor’s office, no?) There’s a good reason for this; one that we, as citizens should pay attention to. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), is worn by medical professionals in the course of their duties to slow/prevent the spread of germs, bacteria, etc. which might be passed on from person to person. In the pursuit of keeping an environment as clean and germ-free as possible, gloves, masks, etc. (even paper gowns) are stripped and disposed of immediately after each use in a sealed, marked Biohazard container which are then emptied by trained personnel at the end of the day, utilizing protective gear and procedures they are trained and specialize in. So…how is it that after an outing to the local grocery store, etc., people think nothing of ripping off their (required) gloves, masks, etc. and simply tossing them on the ground or leaving them lying in a used shopping cart for store employees or the next customer to encounter?
ALL the above images were encountered/discovered on my daily walks with my dog, Zeus – it’s worth noting that our walks typically only encompass an area no greater than a city block – THIs is the detritus I see in that small sampling on a daily basis – what the HELL is wrong with people?
This is the height of selfishness and inconsideration and roughly akin to wiping your butt in a public restroom, then tossing the used toilet paper on the floor instead of in the toilet! The obvious issue with littering notwithstanding, why should others have to contend with what might very well be a contaminated piece of used PPE? And, face it, it you believe the current political narrative; (more on THAT topic in another writing), then ANY of us could be carriers of a currently active, “deadly contagion” without knowledge or symptoms so, why would you put others at risk? Are you really so selfish/lazy that you cannot be bothered to walk to a trash container (or, simply, keep the item with you for disposal at home)? If the answer to this question is yes, then you are NOT a good citizen or neighbor, you are NOT interested in anyone but yourself and your own comfort and convenience AND you ARE, in fact, …a……………………MASKHOLE!! ‘Nuff said.