Herd the Latest?

What can be said of human nature generally may be said of the individual character, that it is most clearly delineated under the instigation of peril or outrageous circumstance. Jangle but slightly the cage of routine, introduce an unfamiliar element into the accustomed pattern, and the individual under observation will begin to exhibit peculiar habits of behavior.

When the government, through bribery with cheap incentives or threat of fine, made masking policy de facto law, I was not surprised that the majority of my fellows in citizenry abided meekly by the injunction. But the law having since been rescinded, I must laugh at those who continue follow its superfluous decree.

That healthy people continue to mask themselves even when the bureaucracy, most stubborn to convince, has been convinced, at least temporarily, of the superfluity or unbalanced returns of masking policy, presents a ludicrous Comedy of Manners, and belies the paranoidal, submissive, and unstable mentality of those players on its stage.

I’ve seen young people at the beach, lying prone under the sun, in a mask (rivaling the bikini line for envy). I’ve seen a man riding a bicycle with speed, taxed cardiovascularly, in a mask. I’ve seen a cashier in a mask, apparently meant to keep the line of maskless customers from whom she takes money safe. I’ve seen a man waiting for an unpopular bus at an unpopulated outdoor station in a mask. I’ve seen a lone figure on a park bench in a mask. I’ve seen a preteen on his way to soccer in a mask (his mother must be some hell of a martinet). I’ve seen a group of high school children being treated to an educational outdoor tour while masked (their councilor, however, wasn’t–he was guiding the tour).

Why the frail and the elderly continue to wear the mask one can understand (even if they are found sitting alone in an unpopulated station or park). But when I see hale adults, or our vibrant youth, or children, for Hashem’s sake! wearing the cotton cover, I cannot help but that very harsh and unbowdlerized and some might say quite offensive thoughts enter my head. This is beyond ‘herd mentality’, for well over 9/10ths of people have forgone the facial gear. How is it that a group of the hearty and able, comprising all ages and classes, has taken on the schoolmarmy, ever-frightful outlook, at once mistrustful and gullible, of senescent, obsolete, and soon to be discontinued grandmamas?

I laugh, I am slightly entertained, but this laugh is not in the nature of a delighted, carefree kind of chuckle, the way one might react mirthfully to the idiotic delights of a naïve child, for whose puerile nonsense it is guiltless for being non the wiser. This laugh carries in its echoes knowledge of the sad condition of man, that is to say, that a part of him will never mature into one.

Now there is talk in Israel of reintroducing the indoor masking policy, in case you haven’t herd. Here I’ve found one good use and purpose for the facial gag; let’s put a mask on such piffle.

About the Author
American by birth; Israeli by birthright. TLVivian by residence. By the year, enough of them. Haim, namely.
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