I’m Tapping Out on Caring if People are Following the Social Distancing Rules

I’m going to slap the next person who says, “The cure can’t be worse than the disease.”

I’ve finally decided to turn the Coronavirus news off, at least on a national scale. I catch a tiny bit of the local stuff when I tune in to the local news to see what the weather is going to be like, but even that is starting to wear on me. It’s not that I don’t like the extended miniseries about a pandemic told in real time that CNN, FOX News and MSNBC have been airing, but the whole thing is now becoming about politics and frankly, that’s disappointing.

When I was in jail, I witnessed a lot of men who I think mentally cannot follow directions. There are plenty of conditions where that is a symptom, like ADHD, but these men displayed this behavior in an angry way I hadn’t personally seen before. One of the smarter guys there who sometimes had these symptoms told me that he’d been diagnosed with Oppositional Defiant Disorder.

As you can imagine, people with ODD are openly uncooperative, defiant and hostile toward parents, teachers, authority figures and anybody trying to exert power over them, even if the other person is making perfect sense.

Making perfect sense as in, “I can’t let you sit down in a crowded restaurant with the closest thing to a plague happening until the number of cases of that plague starts to drop.”

The response from someone with ODD is well, you’re seeing it played out on TV every day. What’s the end result if they win? A hamburger and fries?


The flip side of this, and the side I’m reluctantly moving toward as my libertarianism sneaks into the equation is to just let people do what they want. The people who are going to make the smart decisions based on data are going to realize that now is not a time to reopen their hair salon or clothing boutique or sports bar. Nor are smart people going to shop at these places. I’m not worried about the smart people. And frankly, I don’t have the energy to worry about the not-so-smart people anymore.

I’m starting to think about this the way I think about smoking cigarettes. People smoke cigarettes for whatever their misguided reason and they all know it’s bad for them. There is no scientific data that suggests it’s a good idea to smoke, much like there is no scientific data that the world is ready to reopen. Yes, the curve seems to be past its peak in some places, but in others, they are reopening as the cases get higher every day.

There are a lot of people who smoke that don’t die of lung cancer. Many die of emphysema or COPD. Many develop other respiratory issues and we know smoking also leads to things like high blood pressure and stroke. It also makes you smell like ass and your skin begins to look like a saddle that’s been left out in the rain.

But still, people want to smoke. And they get angry when you explain the health issues or the long-term effects. The government will never help because Big Tobacco pours in a lot of money in both taxes and campaign contributions. The industry also provides a lot of jobs. You’re never going to see Washington take people’s right to smoke away, even though those people who do smoke are showing a severe lack of smarts by continuing.

If you want to open your burger joint and you think that there are enough numbskulls who can keep your business afloat, go ahead and open. Ignore the six-foot separation thing. Sure, it’s better than no separation, but science has proved it’s not a magic line. I don’t care if you wear the masks. I’m not going to be there. Something tells me I don’t have to worry about hand sanitizer either way.

The reality is, maybe these people are correct and the virus won’t get any worse. Maybe the doctors and scientists who are trained to know more than a redneck with a pickup truck, gun and minimal ability to create a carboard sign in defiance of life-saving measures, are all wrong. Maybe it’s the non-medical experts who are right.  I’m not willing to potentially give up my life as a test subject, but if these people are so sure that they are correct, by all means, serve as the control group. You’re actually doing something positive for science at that point.


I hate to say it, but I don’t think I have the energy to care anymore about the public’s health. I know what I need to do and the those closest to me are making good decisions. If the governors, mayors and other elected officials are all wrong, we can vote them out in November. I have a feeling the vocal minority believes they are a majority because of their noise, but may be in for a rude awakening. Mother Nature has a way of sorting things out.

I’ve landed a couple gigs, including the book I mentioned yesterday, that need my attention far more than cable news. I have to free-up the head space currently used by people who are making more decisions. Go ahead, make those decisions and we’ll see what happens. As I was prior to the virus, I’ll be behind my computer, already socially isolating, doing my own thing.

Remember, it’s still important to wash your hands…even after this all over.

Photo Credit to The Boston Globe. Used without Permission. Someone from the Globe can write me to take it down if it’s a real problem.



4 thoughts on “I’m Tapping Out on Caring if People are Following the Social Distancing Rules

  1. I’ve never considered myself a libertarian but this “crisis” has brought that side of me out. Like you, I think folks should be free to take the risks they consider necessary to keep a roof over their head. Those who deem the risks too dangerous should stay home. Your smoking analogy is spot on.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In Maine, I don’t know the exact number, but I would bet 30% or more of our cases are coming from a handful of retirement communities and a Tyson chicken plant. Close quarters seems dangerous, but hey, that’s why we have consequences to our actions. Good luck to those who want to get in people’s faces and let others get in theirs.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve always swayed toward libertarian but there also needs to be rules in life. ODD is very real and frustrating as a social worker. But i think this is more about people used to making money and a lot if it making the others feel they need to think the same way.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ODD was frustrating as hell in jail and I can’t say it’s true with all people, but i think a lot of these people who are railing against the government and flipping out have no real passion other than to just want to do the opposite thing authority is telling them.


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