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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: The 'unmasked' perspective


I am writing this letter in response to those who shame the ones who remain “unmasked” and in particular, the catchy new phrase of “Wear a f***ing mask.”

If we are truly “all in this together,” then how about we give some consideration and attempt some understanding to those who take real issue with potentially being forced to wear a mask in any public space?

I am not talking about those who deny the virus is real, try to downplay the effects or fear the loss of liberty. I am talking about those who understand the risk involved for themselves and those around them and would simply choose not to comply. 

Has any consideration been given that perhaps for these people: their quality of life, social wellbeing, professional/financial situations and overall mental health is already stretched so thin to the point of breaking, that something “so simple” as wearing a mask would actually be the final straw to send them over their edge? 

If those who remain unmasked have actually weighed the burden of being painfully ill for a few weeks and factored in the real possibility of death on top versus the prospect of having to wear a mask any time they are outside of their own home for the foreseeable future/beyond and they truly would rather roll the dice to the side of the virus: who are any of us to castrate?  

Perhaps some believe there are more important pressing issues to deal with, both personally and globally. 

I do not drive. I do not own a car. I gave it up when I moved to Whistler (more than eight years ago) because I no longer needed it and understood that owning and operating a vehicle is not good for the environment.  

This was my free choice and I feel good about it. I am helping our planet and thus, in turn, helping people. This does not mean that I now go around shaming everyone I see drive by. 

When the topic comes up, I share my thoughts, views and experience I have as someone who does not own a vehicle. I listen to those who give their reasoning of why they “need” their car and offer understanding. The same should be offered to those who choose not to wear a mask: education and understanding. 

I use a bidet at home. I bought one on Amazon. It connects directly to any toilet. It is very easy to use. It is more much more hygienic than swabbing any hole with toilet paper and actually quite refreshing in the morning.  

The money I save on toilet paper is astonishing. The best part is: it is so much better for the environment in so many ways. When I can, I try to educate others about the benefits of the bidet for themselves and for all of us. 

I do not have any kids. I love kids and am not imminently against ever having kids. At this point in my life, I am not in the right position to really consider having kids and have never previously come across that position. With all of the problems in today’s world and climate change being right near the top of the list, world population growth is directly related.

We have enough people. If someone wants to have a child, that is a human right. If they and a partner want to have two kids between them, that is very reasonable.  

However, when two people wish to expand their family beyond their inherent replacement bodies to three, four, five kids? I do believe that there are a lot of arguments to make for the case that this is selfish. But who are we to judge?  

Even if I do feel this way, I would never run up to a large family on the Village Stroll to sling profanity their way and shame them for their disregard of our own sustainability.

I understand that I may not know the whole story and it is not my place to judge others for their choices, even if those choices do affect others. 

Because if I did want to share some thoughts out loud; I would say:

“Make some REAL f***ing efforts to get your fossil-fuel-powered cars off the road!”

Or…“Quit wiping your f***ing a** with all the world’s resources!”

My point here is we all have many other issues beyond COVID-19 to deal with and these issues all affect people differently. We should not feel the need to look down upon those who do not see things as the same way we do. We need not judge them for their perceived lack of care towards others. We needn’t throw shame upon those who choose not to take up arms against one problem over another.

And we need to appreciate that the real issue for some may not just be wearing a mask but rather, it may be a combination of so many other problems pushing them close to their edge as it is; death by coronavirus would not be so unwelcome as it may seem to be for others. If a law to enforce mandatory masks were put in place, a lot of these people (who would no longer be allowed to even step out of their house without wearing a mask) may very well just seek out their own death on their own terms.

So while doctors are welcome to continue telling people to “Wear a f***ing mask,” I would maybe be curious to know how many pills worth of prescription opioids have been filled or refilled through our medical system in the last 10 years?

Brandon Smith // Whistler