To be a mask-wearer, or not to be, that is the question:

Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer

The consequences of a stray sneeze

Or to take Arms against a Sea of Covid.

Okay, I will admit. I’m no Shakespeare. But it is interesting for me to watch the two factions at work in our world today. On one hand, there are those who just throw caution to the wind and don’t want to bother wearing a mask. This writer also lumps this group in the selfish, do not care about others group. Then you have the wearers. Are they over cautious? Perhaps.

I fall in the camp of mask-wearers. Not that I’m always a rule follower or I think I’m better than a non-mask wearer. Its just that laying in a bed face down with a tube running through my mouth is not my idea of having an enjoyable time.

Being a dedicated mask-wearer brings along some consequences.

I’ve noticed its hard to convey facial expressions. Take a smile, for example. I like to smile at passing people if for no other reason than to be courteous. During the early phase of mask hood, I noticed nobody was smiling back. Then I realized we could not see each other’s smile.

The flip side of this scenario and perhaps a better outcome for me is the fact that nobody can see my frown. Yesterday, an employee from a major home improvement store that begins with the word Home and ends with the word Depot, walked right in my space and shouted to another employee to come help him move an item. This item covered up one of the thousand sticky reminders on the floor about six foot spacing.

As the debate about wearing a Covid prevention mask wears on, it occurred to me that most if not all people wear masks; we just cant always see them. These are masks designed to cover a weakness. Behind those masks, we cannot see what they are covering.

Perhaps the most worn mask is the mask covering loneliness. This mask, reportably worn by people of all ages in one out of three people in this world, breaks my heart.

Another mask worn is what I like to call the “tears of a clown” mask. This person is the life of the party. On the outside, they seem to have it made. They appear to have a host of friends. But deep down inside, they are masking their hurt with a performance of happiness.

A mask I dislike the most is the one that covers narcissism. This person could not care less about what you think or have to say. They appear interested in your conversation, but all that is going through their head is about themselves. They cant wait for you to stop talking so they can bring attention to themselves. Beware of this person!

The mask that covers jealousy is another classic. This person also appears to be proud for you and your accomplishments, but in reality, they are burning with jealousy on the inside.

There are so many other masks that cover weaknesses. To list a few, there are judgmental, wealth, intelligence and another favorite, beauty, as in Botox and masks to cover wrinkles. I guess we can call that one vanity.

Recently, I attended a much-anticipated seminar on customer service. Due to confidentiality, I cannot reveal the name of the company, but they sell chicken and have long lines in their drive-through lanes. Their customer service is world class and as a participant, I was on the first row, notebook in hand, ready to hear the unique advantage they use to make their service so stellar.

I know a thing or two about customer service. I spent my career in the retail business. Excellent customer service in the retail business is elusive; always stressed, but rarely achieved.

I expected to hear about hiring the right person for their culture, which I did. I expected to hear about a world class training program, which I did not. Instead, I heard about a company that teaches their employees that every guest who comes in their store has a story. You never know what that story is. One guests story may be that he just got a raise and is ecstatic. The next person may have just received news they have cancer. Here, the news devastates them. Two people in the same air space, with emotions on the opposite end of the scale.

To provide their guests with the best dining experience, they teach these employees to look at the persons heart, and not their head.

That’s it? The secret sauce to their success?

I reflected on this for the next day. The more I did, the madder I got. Mad at myself, that is. My parents taught me this when I was just a kid. My parents were experts at this. But boy have I not followed this practice. I could give a thousand excuses, but none are worthy of repeating.

Our world, including me, has become so self-centered, narcissistic, and judgmental.  Very few people look at each other’s heart. We look at the other persons masks they are wearing to conceal the actual person.

Today, on this Declaration of Independence Day, I’m declaring my independence on buying into the masks we wear. I will look through that mask of loneliness, tears of a clown, narcissism, jealousy, judgmental, wealth, intelligence and vanity. From this day forward, I’m determined to make an extra effort to look at the persons heart.  My mask of judgement on a person’s outward looks is coming off.

I invite you to join me. If we all do this, we can do our part to make this a better world.

Wear your Covid mask? Yes!

Wear the cover up masks? No!

To be a mask-wearer, or not to be, that is the question.

Happy Independence Day!


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