The most damaging side-effect of the Wuhan Panic is the onset of mass Busybody Syndrome.
When the Wuhan Panic first erupted, I jokingly called these Nosy Parkers the “Friendly Neighborhood Stasi.”
And five months later, despite the decline in virus fatalities, things have only gotten worse.
Those suffering from Busybody Syndrome have decided to deputize themselves members of the Mask Police. They don’t hesitate to approach total strangers in order to lecture, scold, and even attack them for committing the unpardonable sin of walking, biking, eating or driving without wearing a mask.
Listen, I hate wearing a mask because it makes it hard to breathe. But I live in New York. If I want to go to the grocery store or the pharmacy or the bank, I have to wear a mask in order to enter. But once outside, I take the mask off.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten nasty looks from people twenty or thirty feet away from me. As if somehow my lack of a mask in the wide open outdoors twenty or thirty feet away from them is somehow their business.
So far none of those suffering from Busybody Syndrome have gotten up in my grill to lecture me. Maybe my shaved head, tattoos and muscles make me unapproachable. Who knows? If that’s the case, I found one more reason to be grateful Lupus took my hair and forced me to get in shape.
But not everyone gets off with just dirty looks from the Mask-Wearing Nosy Parkers.
Yesterday on Twitter, a guy who thinks he’s a girl saw a maskless customer in Kroger. And because he not only suffers from gender confusion, but also Busybody Syndrome, the guy demanded a store manager do something about it. When the manager talked to the the maskless customer, but didn’t A) toss her from the store or B) force her to put on a mask, the Nosy Parker snapped the manager’s picture and posted it on Twitter demanding his/her/xir Twitter followers ruin the Kroger employee’s life.
Naturally, this dude who thinks he’s a girl claims the maskless customer threatened him/her/xir with “assault.” I’m sorry, but I don’t believe that. My guess is, the “threat” was along the lines of “why don’t you mind your business, nosy!”
For all this Nosy Parker knows, the maskless woman suffers from asthma or some other condition that makes wearing a mask impossible. Perhaps the reason the store manager “refused to do anything” was because the maskless customer had a valid reason for not wearing a mask.
Busybody Syndrome is reaching pandemic levels. And if left unchecked, it will infect more people than the Wuhan Virus.
As @beyondreasdoubt put it on Twitter yesterday, “It’s so simple, just leave people the fuck alone. If you see someone not wearing a mask and it bothers you, walk away and go about your business.”
How hard is that?
Can everybody just take one gigantic breath and calm the hell down? Is that too much to ask?
After 9/11, Americans responded to that awful tragedy by coming together. We showed kindness and comradery to one another.
I remember going to the old courthouse in Hillsborough, North Carolina for the National Day of Prayer after 9/11. Here we all were, gathered together, most of us strangers, but we held hands, stood arm-in-arm, even hugged each other. I’d never experienced such expressions of kindness and solidarity from strangers. Nobody in that crowd was chasing after folks who didn’t stop and join us to lecture and scold them for not showing the appropriate amount of patriotism or unity.
We didn’t think ourselves morally superior.
But this national tragedy seems to have brought out the worst in far too many people.
I get it. I do.
For months now, the tragedy-hungry news media has hyped this pandemic so far out of proportion in order to instill fear, panic and suspicion.
But I’m astonished at how many people just go along with it.
It isn’t the virus that is tearing the country apart. It isn’t the virus that is crippling our economy.
It was our irrational response to it. The fearmongering overreaction from government officials, the breathless, vicious news media who spends way too much time acting like Mask Hall Monitors, and the insane social media shame-campaigns from vacuous, miserable people with too much time on their hands — that’s what’s causing so much division and anger.
And it isn’t going to end well.
These things always escalate. You’d think violent road rage incidents would serve as a cautionary tale for these guys. But alas, Busybody Syndrome renders a person incapable of measuring imminent risk. They truly believe their self-righteousness not only makes the more virtuous, but also invincible.
It doesn’t. Eventually someone is going to take it upon him/her/xir-self to confront the wrong person. And the Nosy Parker is going to end up either very injured or very dead.
It just isn’t worth it.
As someone once said to me, “Your business ends at the end of your nose. So keep your nose out of other people’s business.”
In short, “Mind your own bee’s wax.”
You’ll be amazed at just how quickly your stress level returns to pre-Busybody Syndrome levels.
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