Oh gosh, what was it? Two weeks ago I penned a column, opening my heart to the public and admitting, yup, I your hero, wears a mask when going to the store, in the restaurant, etc.
Wrote I, “Personally, cause I am the only person I can control, I wear a mask when I go into stores. Since I’m not a person of scientific brain inclinations (a fancy word of saying I ain’t too bright), I do not know if it’s protecting me or anybody else. I do know it makes others feel better, so why not. No big whoops. I am still free to have my own thoughts and pursue my happiness as long as it does not infringe on another’s. At the same time, my undies don’t get wadded in a bunch if I see someone without a mask.”
Pretty uncontroversial stuff, I reckoned. Guess, I ain’t as smart as I thought I was (which, is something reinforced more often than one would care for). I preceded the above paragraph with this: “We are divided . . . How many stories have we heard or seen about folks walking into a store and A) yelling and/or belittling folks without a mask, or B) folks without a mask yelling and/or belittling low-wage earning store employees for being asked to wear a mask . . .We have ‘patriots’ and self-proclaimed ‘mask police.’ We have become the most judgmental of people, accepting only those who agree with us, while at the same time preaching the acceptance of all ideas and peoples. It’s kinda’ mind boggling and confusing.”
Imagine my surprise to read a Letter to The Editor of our Ortonville/Goodrich/Groveland paper, The Citizen, which started out, “Mr. Rush, Either you flunked basic high school science, are totally medically clueless or perhaps just willfully ignorant— maybe all three?”
You just know it’s gonna’ be a doosey when the writer starts off calling you stupid, clueless and ignorant! Thing is, I kinda’ know and like the writer. He’s from the Ortonville area, has written a ton of outdoor parks and recreation features and I have even communicated with him back in the late 1990s or early 2000s. His name is Jonathan Schechter and he is an ER paramedic. A hero, if you will. Seems like a nice dude. Heck, we share 25 “friends” on Facebook, for goodness sakes!
Not sure why he didn’t contact me directly like many other readers who don’t agree with me do.
Here’s pretty much the rest of Jonathan’s letter: “What are you thinking? Your undies should be in a real tight bunch. The United States Covid-19 death toll is over 150,000 and soaring. In case you are not paying any attention as of July 26, 1,071 citizens of Oakland County have died from Covid-19 and the County has documented 10,553 cases. Mask wearing is all about respect for community and public health. Your mask ramble makes about as much sense as saying if someone else drives drunk you do not care, because you are driving sober. Not wearing a mask infringes on others as clearly as drunk drivers infringe on the life of sober drivers.
“Just in case you do not know, mask wearing protects both the user and perhaps more importantly those around them. Your column was certainly devoid of any empathy and perhaps exposed your own hypocrisy and certainly confirmed your profound lack of knowledge about science and public health. Maybe the White House would like you as a writer?”
Click Here To Read The Don’t Rush Me column Jonathan responds to.
Click Here To Read Jonathan’s letter in entirety.
On his personal Facebook he called me (or my column) inane and dangerous. I think Jonathan’s a little sensitive. And, I get it. He’s on the frontline, he sees a lot more than I, your lowly scribe. So, I will make things easy for him, so he doesn’t have to read between my lines, nor assume what I think:
Jonathan, I believe there is COVID-19. I know folks are dying from it (as of Monday, Aug. 3, in the Ortonville ZIP code, 48462, there were 20 new cases in the last 30 days; a total of 50 cases and zero deaths in your area’s 13,935 population. Just one town to the east, things aren’t as good. They had 14 new cases; 95 total and sadly, three deaths from COVID — Oxford’s population is 24,339).
I think you should wear masks, but I ain’t a scientist (flunked basic high school science, you know) and I cannot say 100 percent how effective they are. Most scientists say they work, fewer say, “not so much.”
I am not going to yell at someone for not wearing a mask. I am not a member of the Thought and/or Mask Police. Besides, maybe that maskless person has a doctor’s note saying not to wear one — I am not gonna’ ask for it or confront that person. Nor am I going to call the cops. This is not Nazi Germany, nor Soviet Russia where if you don’t follow the party line, you are cancelled.
I also believe in social distancing from those I do not know. I wash my hands a lot, too. So, if you and I and most everyone are doing all that, are we not doing good? Should we not be safe? I am asking, because I don’t know. I control my actions, emotions and thoughts. Not yours or anybody else’s. (Though I did try to brainwash my sons into liking Elvis Presley music.)
Thing is, Jonathan, while I may not be welcome in your club, we can still cast a line in the same fishing hole. We can still be friends. Why all the name calling?
Jonathan, thanks for reading, and caring enough to write. I encourage it as I encourage you to also practice empathy. I promise to be personally empathic, respectful and will continue to ramble on via the ever-lovin’ Don’t Rush Me column. (Oh, and FYI: I did not vote for President Trump, nor Hillary Clinton. I cast my lot for the dope-smokin’, “I don’t know what Aleppo” is guy.)
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Final thoughts: Love one another, especially those you disagree with. It’s easy to love ones you like. It takes work, and work is good, to love those you would rather yell at and condemn.
Send your comments to: DontRushDon@gmail.com