Roger Marolt: The masked man ruining the economy is me
The mask debate has gone on long enough. I think COVID-19 is real. You think it’s a hoax. I believe it is a killer and maimer. You believe it is no worse than a case of the sniffles. I think freedom entails being rid of this virus.
You think it’s not wearing a mask. I think face masks are currently our best bet to slow or stop the coronavirus spread. You don’t think they make any difference.
OK. We disagree on all of this. Now, let’s cut to the chase. Think of it as a business deal. There is no need to debate the facts. What you are about to hear might be shocking and I am almost certain you have not considered it, so you had better sit down and listen carefully. Money talks and I am now speaking on its behalf.
I and many others have no interest in going to a restaurant and sitting down for a meal if there are unmasked diners there. This holds true for entering a store to buy anything. The same goes for heading back to the gym. A haircut? Forget about it, if others inside are playing loose with this pandemic. I don’t want to ride a bus or take an Uber. I don’t want to ride in a crowded elevator. I am devoutly religious and I won’t even attend Sunday mass until the coast is clearer.
In short, I know you want things back to normal. I know you want the rules relaxed and for everyone to go about their pre-pandemic business. I know you want the economy to recover and jobs to come back. I know you want schools to open this fall. I know this, because that’s what I want, too. In fact, everyone wants this. But regardless of what any politician says or does, none of this is going to occur until A) an effective vaccine or treatment is developed, or B) you put on a mask and start acting like you care about me.
Look, I honestly hope you are right. I would be thrilled if somebody proves that this whole thing is a hoax and that there is nothing to it and we can instantly open everything back up and live our lives again. I hope a discovery outing the evil people who perpetrated such a horrible fraud on the world results in uniting our country. Trust me on this, nobody will be sad if you turn out to be right. Please name names and give us proof. We will rally as one against the scoundrels, if you show us who they are, what they did, and exactly how they pulled it off. But, in the meantime, we are scared. You can make all the claims you like, but until you can prove them and that leads us to clearing things up, I will stay hunkered down.
It is not the law that has cratered the economy and our sense of well-being. It is not Democrats or Republicans who have done this. Doctors and scientists are not responsible for where we are now. It is people like me, worried about our families, friends and ourselves, who currently find no pleasure in the prospects of spending an evening out, buying a new pair of shoes, or jumping on a plane to fly away to some exotic place where we might get stuck for the next two months if restrictions are suddenly slapped back in place. Much less are we looking to buy a new car. The old refrigerator that didn’t seem quite big enough last fall seems fine for now. Remodel the guest bedroom? You have to be kidding. Not only are we in lockdown mode, but so is our money. As long as the storm clouds continue to get darker on the horizon, we are putting everything we can into the rainy day fund.
So, yeah, you can continue to keep your face exposed as a matter of principal. You can prove your point that no damn politician can make you wear a mask. If keeping your mouth and nose exposed is a symbol of your freedom, I won’t try to argue against that. Just know that if you don’t wear a mask, you are an impediment to getting things back to normal. Unless you can come up with a better idea to make folks comfortable going out and spending money again, covering your nose and mouth is your best bet to get things back on track. I am all the proof you need.
Roger Marolt is pretty sure we can’t control a virus with ideologies, and this is no time to keep trying. Email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s almost time to ring in the new year and if your holiday schedule is shaping up to be as packed as mine, I wish you a well-deserved rest in 2024. In the meantime, it’s our chance to party, and party we shall.