“How do I process this? I have no one on the ground here who feels the exact same as me…”
That’s essentially what a friend on Twitter asked me recently after emerging, shaken, from a situation where some incredibly vulnerable human beings were at risk from those charged with caring for them, who were without masks and without a care. I shared with her a few of my thoughts, and since a lot of us are now in this same boat, I figured I’d share them with you, as well.
In my friend’s case, she has a teen daughter…and one who gets it. Who understands the importance of playing an active defense against SARS2 and the stupidity of so many of our fellow human beings. I told her, “Having your daughter on board is HUGE. YUGE, even. Not just not having to fight to get her to do the right things, but to know that she’s keeping herself safe. That’s a big rock to hang onto – she’s your “person on the ground” right now. So any time you think things are getting you down, keep that in mind: a lot of parents don’t have that, sadly. If our boys had been in school, I know with near 100% certainty at least one of them would’ve refused to do the right thing and brought that shit home. I don’t know what your relationship with her is like, but if you get low, lean on her for support – she might warm to that.”
“Just accept the fact that the medical community,” I told her, “ including those ministering to new tiny humans, is utterly fucked up, along with most of the rest of people in the West. It’s sort of like the stages of grief, I guess, grappling with the fact that people you work with and otherwise respect are now fucking morons putting you and others in danger – that’s how it’s been for me since the mandates here dropped months ago. But you have to work through that: this is the world we live in now, until something finally gets people to pull their heads out of their asses (not holding my breath on that). I’ve studied warfare (and been on the intel side of it) most of my life, so what’s happened didn’t surprise me as much as I would’ve liked: there are a lot of amazing individuals out there, but humanity as a whole is utter shit. People often just won’t do the right thing unless they’re forced to.”
“As for finding like-minded people in real life,” I said, “it’s hard everywhere, but especially in red states: there just aren’t very many (talk about a “low density” demographic). At all. As I’ve mentioned before, we believers are a new 0.1%, with every one of us being an Omega Man or Woman. We’re a very low density demographic to begin with, with varying degrees of “belief” and corresponding actions. Some people are vaxed with 2 doses and wear surgicals and think that’s enough. Are those “our people”? Kinda…but they’re not folks I’d want to hang out with a lot. We hard core believers are just a fraction of that 0.1%, Omega Men and Women sprinkled across the country.
“How you face the COVID (and probably other bugs) Zombie Apocalypse is very much a choice. I always think of Will Smith in that movie saying, “Danger is real; fear is a choice” – this is very, very real for us in every single activity we engage in with other people, any of whom could be infected. It really is like watching a zombie movie or series and studying the characters: which character type do you choose to be? It’s not preordained. You determine what role you want to play. And that also doesn’t mean you have to try to be Superwoman or Superman; it’s not about perfection, but about mindset, determination, compassion. And you simply don’t have the option of throwing in the towel and going YOLO because your daughter is not only depending on you at her age, but she’s looking to you as a role model.”
And that brings us to Part 4
“Find – and provide – strength wherever you can. Here with us, with Greater Twitter, your daughter, maybe if there’s even one other person at work somewhere who’s still doing the right thing. Maybe it’s not someone right there, but there are literally millions out here in Twitterland and elsewhere globally who are part of that 0.1% (plus over a billion Chinese, lol). And the other thing, particularly when it comes to masking, is you are also a provider of strength. If there’s just one person – just one – who might consider wearing a mask because you are, then it’s worth it just for that. Because your example might help that person save their life, or perhaps the lives of their family. It’s like my wife at a convention a few months ago, 1 of 3 people of 300 who were masking – and ~70% of the attendees reported testing + within the following week or so. But she was setting a good example, leading by example. And I’m sure she’ll be the only one (or only one among a few) in similar future gatherings.”
It’s Not Just About Us
So, my friend, again, a big chunk of this isn’t just about us, it’s about those around us. And like with elastomerics: heck, make light of it (like my Darth Vader impressions – but you’ll have to find your own schtick, that one’s taken, lol), or put bling on your mask – there’s a gal on Twitter (@nickelpin) who does AMAZING custom art for people on their masks. Make it cool, unique, fun. Are you going to get buy-in from folks? Not from most. But you might see a decrease in hostility. And if not, as a guy I knew years ago used to say, “Fuck ‘em.” You don’t owe those assholes a damn thing, but you DO owe yourself, your family, and the vulnerable. Focus on them, not the assholes.