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By a thousand cuts

By Tim Croft
The Star

My week started with an ugly incident concerning a remote control. 

Peaceful day, which are rare in these times, and I asked if my wife could “toss” me the remote control for the television. 

The thing can’t weigh more than a few ounces. 

And my wife, petite as she is soaking wet, is not likely to put much into a “toss”; she is a girl and throws like one (one politically-incorrect statement down). 

But, in this case, there was a bit more speed to the “toss” not to mention that it was nowhere near my extended hands. 

Instead it smacked me right on the bone of my left elbow, splitting open a wound that grew in color and size to a purple Putt-Putt (miniature golf for those unfamiliar with the reference) golf ball. 

The impact could be probably be heard down the street.  

There were probably grounds for abuse charges. 

And, possibly, the wound is a tad overstated, but the elbow has given me trouble since and any error in this paper is her fault. 

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. 

In complete denial of the other injuries I managed to self-inflict as the day wore on. 

Emptying the dishwasher, it was the corner of the cupboard door above, which I stupidly forgot to close before testing whether it could absorb without injury a strike of force from my noggin. 

The cupboard door came through unscathed; my head, not so much. 

And that was before I walked to empty the garbage and while piling it in having the cover of the container take care of the remainder of my head. 

If nothing else, though, those cuts were not nearly as painful as this ongoing discussion, debate, partisan culture war, whatever one wishes to label it, about wearing face masks. 

Not to protect the wearer, please keep in mind, but to protect those who surround in public places, particularly where social distancing is impossible. 

The arguments over the difference between a mandate and a requirement have even spilled into the Piggly Wiggly, which could not have more signs requiring face masks. 

Yet, repeatedly, people must be instructed they can not be in the store without a face mask and, unfortunately, there have also been a few exchanges which revolve around rights and blah, blah, blah. 

Don’t want to wear a mask, it is easy, stay home and away from the rest of the population. 

Simple. Problem solved. 

There have been a number of opinion columns recently extolling how COVID-19 has unveiled underlying issues with what is the most expensive health system in the world. 

In particular, how the poor too often fall through the cracks. 

In this corner, the argument is that the pandemic has unveiled the cracks in our society, in the way we treat others, the form of what we call community. 

Generations who, one assumes, grew up at least knowing the Golden Rule, treat others as one would like to be treated, have, in the cool words of today, “ghosting” the concept. 

We have ghosted the sense of humanity that makes a community work, how democracy works, how bipartisanship works. 

Executive orders, congressional negotiations, all of it just theater in the absurd among 437 people who at most times seem to have no sense of what is really going on in the country they allegedly lead. 

Face masks are the canaries in our coal mine, if you will pardon the cliché. 

They have exposed an ugly portion of our society that no longer operates by the unwritten rules of said society, or at least the rules most of us grew up with. 

Every single public official recommends wearing a face mask as a protection for others, particularly those in vulnerable populations, with underlying conditions, the elderly, minorities. 

Every one, federal to local; wear a mask for others. 

But, go on social media and the conspiracy theorists are having a field day; quarantine has been like sugar to a child for trolls spouting idiotic rhetoric. 

But that “slop” is actually believed by so many. 

A side note: Encountered a person parked with their motorcycle and got to talking about surviving Hurricane Michael and I noted in addition the pandemic. 

The person offered a single figure salute we all know. 

Well, I countered, something killed 150,000 Americans or whatever the number is now.  

The reply was, as long as the “right” people are dying. 

Sounded a bit like another long-ago reference: Soylent Green when the old were turned into food for the young and strong. 

The noise around face masks follows a similar theme. 

This is just common sense, basic human being to human being, let us as a community take care of each other. 

One study from the CDC indicated that if masks were mandated and the mandate followed, COVID-19 could disappear in 4-6 weeks. 

Don’t know if that is true, just as most of us don’t have medical degrees, which means few of us are really on solid footing spouting the efficacy of face masks. 

I just wish I had one to cover up my elbow, though a daily reminder to the wife has worked wonders.