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Marsh column: Wearing a mask is socially responsible

Social responsibility. That’s what my brother in the Netherlands calls it.

So many things during COVID-19 make no sense, but we must accept that we are in trouble. Our hospitals are overrun with cases, but fortunately deaths are lower (at this time) than during the first wave. However, we must understand when our hospitals are bulging at the seams. If a car crash victim comes in, it becomes an even bigger challenge.

How about a stroke or heart attack? Now doctors even see people who do not go in with signs of a heart attack for the fear of getting COVID and die because they thought they “just” had indigestion. 

At 5 p.m. on Nov. 25, new precautions were put into place. The one that affects me the most is this: “Must wear mask even while exercising.” I agree, it’s very challenging, especially since no clusters of COVID have come out of the fitness industry (to my knowledge and other fitness specialists).

But do we want to get shut down again? Absolutely not!

If our doctors and nurses, front line staff and so many others have to do their job and wear a mask or shield while they work, can’t we do the same for the time we are inside and in my case, in the YMCA? We are still so fortunate just to be open.

I had a great discussion with my brother via FaceTime about the mask.

My brother feels the same as I do (frustrated) but his answer was it’s our “social responsibility.” Whether we agree or not, we all want this to be over. It’s completely new. So we all are trying different things.

I am going to use an analogy my boss told me, and we laughed about it. It makes so much sense! And we can all use a good laugh right now.

Mask or no mask? He had a big discussion with one of his family members and noted that, if someone passes gas, the smell doesn’t stay in their underwear!

Of course, the thought was of a mask not keeping someone’s breath/germs/virus inside the mask.

My boss responded to it this way: “I’d rather have someone pass gas in my face with their underwear on than not!”

If I have offended anyone with this, my apologies, but this one hit home for me.

My asthma had been gone for over 15 years, but it has returned because of the use of a mask. But I still feel responsible for helping to keep the virus from spreading. You can ask my class. I highly dislike it. I just make sure to have lots of outside time far enough from people so I don’t have to wear a mask.

I look and listen to the nurses and doctors in full gear performing CPR when someone codes. How about the firefighters all geared up doing their job?

So I say to myself, “Put your big girl panties on and do your part.”

I agree with my brother, we are all socially responsible for our community, our own life and the life of others. And if all that fails, would you rather have someone pass gas in your face, with or without their underwear on?!

Please keep on smiling, keep on living and most of all, keep on laughing!

Ester H. Marsh is Health & Fitness Director of the JF Hurley Family YMCA.

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