It is amazing how a long walk can clear your mind. I took such a walk on Tuesday, April 27, 2021 mentally fuming at Tucker Carlson’s rant about how parents who have their children wear face maks during the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S. are committing acts of child abuse. His insistence that such parents should be reported to police authorities and child welfare agencies. As I was ruminating on what TC Barnum had said, I remembered the comment about how people wearing mask should be confronted and told that “the mask they were wearing were a personal source of discomfort.”
The specific words were something to the effect of “Please take off your mask that you are wearing in public because it frightens me.” Wow. And then it hit me, TCB is afraid of people wearing masks and covering their mouths and noses like medical and surgical staff.
TCB is afraid.
How did this happen? Was there a particularly bad event during a Halloween somewhere in the man’s childhood? Did something happen in a dentist’s office? Does the man still have nightmares about the gowned and masked nurse anethestist who put him to sleep before he had his tonsils taken out?
Once this realization struck me, that rage I felt toward the call the cops on your neighbors who have put protective masks on their own children, dissipated, a little. Not that I don’t still think the man is contemptible, but I actually feel sorry for him. It’s compassion more than pity. To have all his money and fame and power and influence and to be terrified of someone running past him on the street who happens to have some cloth covering over his or her nose and mouth.
Some grandmother who just got her COVID-19 vaccine shots and is still wary of any exposure that she may bring back home to her own elderly mother. Some person recovering from cancer treatment and has a compromised immune system and has been directed by the medical team to wear a mask. Someone with bad seasonal allergies who has learned that wearing a mask is way easier than getting zoned out or hyped up on allergy meds. Someone who just wants to be considerate of the unvaccinated, which is almost all children.
Carlson, at some point you need to just own up to your fears. And get over yourself.
PS. This essay was also inspired by the really big scary dog who jumped out of the drunk homeless guy’s car and bounded up to me and nearly knocked me down. I remembered to do whatever was necessary to stay on my feet, not flail my arms and project a sense of calm aimed at the big tail wagging lug who just wanted to be friends. After a nice pat on the head, the dog went back to the car all on his own.