A mask is not an imposition unless you’re selfish

One of the biggest problems in America right now is the way people generalize and oversimplify issues. Well, OK, that’s not exactly true because generalizations and oversimplifications barely crack the top 1,000 of problems in America right now. So, allow me to generalize and oversimplify for a moment. (Or don’t, because I’m going to do so anyway.)

I’ve realized that there are two kinds of people in America. No, not Republicans and Democrats. No, not Southerners and Yankees. No, not Coke people and Pepsi people.

True, those are kinds of people — well, except the Pepsi folks. You can’t love Pepsi and be a people. That’s just wrong.

The two kinds of people in America boil down to those who impose upon others and those who don’t — the imposers and the non-imposers.

“But, wait,” you say. Yes you did. “Aren’t you imposing your opinion upon me, Mr. Johnson, with what you write?”

No, and I don’t think I’ve been called “Mr. Johnson” since that parent-teacher-principal-student conference I had back in 10th grade, when I got called “Mr. Johnson” a lot. (My English teacher was not happy with my poetry assignment — 1986-87 was a long year for her.) You see, you’re not being imposed upon because you can stop reading anytime you feel like it.

Hey, wait! Where’s that dude think he’s going? Oh, never mind. We’ll just keep this between us then.

If you’re a non-imposer like I am, you’ve probably endured your share of impositions. If you haven’t felt imposed upon, you’re probably the imposer.

One way folks impose upon others is with noise. Every time I hear one of those boom-boom car radios that rattles the vehicle and nearby windows, I get the urge to express my opinion about loud noises with obscene gestures or a little fire bomb. I’d rather folks who blast those radios just put a sign on their car that reads: “My mommy didn’t pay me enough attention so please, please notice me.”

Of course, I hardly ever fire-bomb these folks because the government has imposed upon me its opinion that fire-bombing is illegal. The government, though, has to have a few restrictions on us because — in case you haven’t noticed — Americans can be pretty stupid. So, there have to be reasonable impositions like seat belts, speed limits, noise ordinances (that are never enforced), gun laws and some semi-reasonable restrictions against things like fire-bombing the noise-makers.

I’m talking about people who impose, though, not government — which is “of the rich, by the corporations and for the wealthy,” and that’s straight from Article 27, Section Z of the U.S. Constitution. I’m talking about the people who litter their cigarettes everywhere, imposing their laziness and nastiness upon us. I’m talking about the pedestrians who slow their walk when I wave them along. I’m talking about people who don’t know what a yield sign is, forcing drivers besides me to slow down unnecessarily. (My truck is paid for, so I prefer to keep going and terrify them by proceeding somewhat aggressively with my right of way.)

And, today, the greatest imposers are the don’t-tread-on-me, science-denying folks who refuse to wear masks. You are imposing your potentially virus-ridden breath upon everyone and everything. You’re not standing up for your freedom; you’re standing up for attempted manslaughter. Worse, you’re threatening my football season.

I hate wearing a mask. I’ll be glad when this is over so that I won’t need to wear one. But we’re all in this together. OK, we’re not, but we should be. I wear a mask because it is the unselfish, decent thing to do in a pandemic that has already killed 100,000 Americans. Those pro-pandemic folks we see disregarding social distancing guidelines and refusing to wear masks ensure that number will grow way more than it should.

And being unselfish and decent at this moment in time is one imposition I can handle.

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