It Goes Over the Nose

Image by Marcos Cola from Pixabay

Jennifer & I did our monthly grocery run to Lincoln today. Swung through Seward on the way back to drop off a FedEx envelope, buy a pack of water filter cores, & pick up a few things at Walmart we couldn’t get elsewhere.

At Walmart, a couple of employees, guys in their late teens or early 20’s, were staffing the self-checkout area with their masks below their noses, one nearly on his chin.

Walmart’s corporate policy is employees must wear masks.

“You know that’s supposed to go over your nose, right?” I said, glowering above my “Because Science” mask. “Otherwise you might as well not wear it at all.”

“Yeah,” he said, nodding, grinning a shit-eating “This old guy’s a sheeple” grin. Neither moved his mask. As I left, they were chatting & laughing in self-congratulatory anti-science chummery.

I stopped by a checker, mature woman, to tell her what had happened. She called her crew chief. I told the crew chief, another mature woman, and she said, uncomfortably, “I’ll take care of it.”

Jen & I headed out to the car. No crew chief talking to nobody. Young guys still chuckling with their masks below their noses.

I’ll admit, any polite, non-confrontational, “let’s be tolerant,” Liberal would have driven away, helpless, chanting the mantra “Don’t let them live rent-free in your head.” That’s certainly my inclination. Confrontation is miserable. Even writing this post is uncomfortable. But helplessness feels worse. And nowadays it’s irresponsible.

So I went back in, to the Service Desk, asked for the manager. A polite, professional young guy named Jermaine came over, wearing a mask.

“Hi, Jermaine,” I said through my mask, coolly & politely. “Walmart has a corporate policy about employees masking, right?” He nodded, eyes professionally engaged with mine. I told him what I told you just now. Then said, “Look, I get it. They don’t believe in masking, and that’s fine. But they should follow corporate policy.”

“Absolutely, I’ll go take care of it,” he said, & headed over.

The point is, I could have driven away, silently seething, while those ignorant ass-hats grinned. Instead, the shoe was on the other foot. I drove away grinning, with them facing their own helplessness. Because while knowledge survives even in silence, ignorant slogans die without a vocal feedback loop. And corporate put the kibosh on theirs, at least during working hours.

For over a year now, I’ve been making this point: “If you cannot reason with them, shame them and walk away. Don’t carry the misery away with you, leaving them to feel superior. Hold on to your confidence and hand them the misery.”

To put it more succinctly, don’t let them live in your head rent-free, choose to live in theirs rent free instead.

Our loved ones deserve our courage.

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