“Thou shalt not Covid thy neighbour’s life. Wear a mask.”Church billboard outside Royal Columbia Hospital, New Westminster, British Columbia
“Man is least himself when he talks in his own person,” Oscar Wilde once noted. “Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.”
The famous playwright died 120 years ago, destitute and alone, three short years after being released from prison. His sexual orientation had earned him a two-year stint in the slammer.
If Mr. Wilde were alive today, he’d find the world a more enlightened place, undoubtedly.
He might also expect to find the world awash in truthfulness, what with all the Covid-generated mask-wearing. But he’d be disappointed: there’s no pandemic of honesty. Instead we’re submerged in a toxic soup of misinformation and falsehoods.
I don’t know about you, but I’m more afraid of drowning in nonsense than I am of dying from Covid-19.
It’s not the folks wearing the masks who are spreading most of the foolishness, to be clear. It’s those who refuse to wear them, all the while caterwauling about their “rights”.
The fact that rights come with responsibilities has been buried beneath the bedlam. (As The Globe and Mail pointed out in a thoughtful editorial today, conservatives used to understand this implicitly; that “while order without freedom is tyranny, freedom without order is chaos”; and that our freedoms don’t include “the freedom to endanger other people”.)
Mr. Wilde would be further disheartened to find that sensible people in 2020 remain as susceptible to lies and distortions as were sensible people in his day.
Take my friend “John”, for instance. (I’ve “masked” his identity, because my intent is not to cause him embarrassment — I hold him in the highest esteem). John’s an intelligent fellow, a prominent community leader, and the type of guy who ordinarily doesn’t brook any nonsense. The opposite of gullible, one might say.
But like all of us he desperately wants to believe that this Covid business isn’t as serious as it is.
He sent me a clip from the The Highwire with Del Bigtree, helpfully titled “MASK WHISTLEBLOWERS TELL ALL”.
“Seems compelling!” John said in his email. “What do you think?”
Del Bigtree, for those who don’t know, is one of the most prominent anti-vaxxers on the American scene. Strident anti-vaxxers are a dime a dozen in the U.S., embedded in a culture that rewards Goop-peddling celebs like Gwyneth Paltrow with huge followings and enormous wealth for advocating vaginal steaming and ritual bra burning as conduits to ultimate wellness.
The “whistleblowers” Bigtree hosted on his show were a pair of OSHA-certified mask “experts”. Masks, the pair proclaimed with supreme confidence, do absolutely nothing to protect against COVID-19; in fact, they likely increase your chance of picking up the virus.
Worst of all, they said, prolonged mask-wearing is a menace to your health. Exhaled gases are re-inhaled, sending blood carbon dioxide levels to brain-cell destroying heights. Furthermore, the physical barrier of the mask impedes oxygen inhalation, lowering blood oxygen levels and worsening the destruction of grey matter. Plus, the fearsome duo of increased CO2 and decreased O2 impairs immune function, causes heart attacks, and — wait for it — leads to cancer.
For emphatic effect, Del Bigtree rolled a clip of his son donning a mask; whereupon Bigtree inserted a CO2 probe under the boy’s mask. Within a minute the measured CO2 level beneath the mask had rocketed to more than 5000 ppm. I could see the young lad’s brain dissolving into toxic soup in front of my eyes.
I called John.
“John,” I said, “You know my wife, Sherri?”
“Of course,” he replied. “Wonderful woman. What she’s doing with you is one of life’s eternal mysteries, ha ha.”
“Very funny. Well, then you know she’s a surgeon. Has been for seventeen years. Operates all day long, some days.”
“In fact,” I went on, “she headed off to the OR a couple of hours ago. And here’s the amazing thing: she was able to tie her own shoes, unassisted, before she trundled out the door. I didn’t have to help her a bit. Even more amazing, she had cereal for breakfast; and she stuffed her spoon in her mouth completely unaided — no spillage whatsoever.”
That’s right. Seventeen years as a surgeon, seventeen years of dangerously high CO2 levels and death-defying O2 levels, and yet she remains, on the surface at least, reasonable functional. It’s a miracle, I tell ya.
Even more miraculous are all the other surgeons out there (I know many) who’ve escaped the brain-destroying effects of prolonged mask-wearing as well. (Nor are they pushing up daisies prematurely thanks to heart attacks and cancer.)
By the impeccable logic of the two OSHA experts, you had best avoid having your appendix out toward the end of a surgeon’s day — let alone toward the end of his or her career — lest you end up with a frontal lobotomy rather than your appendix extracted.
Come to think of it, perhaps that’s what happened to all the mask protesters and Covid deniers out there: accidental lobotomies. Hence the oceans of nonsense.
It’s a theory, at least.