As we head into another year of these unprecedented, unusual, trying, uncertain, challenging, extraordinary, difficult, hard, and tough times in this virus-laden world, many have tried to assign blame on others for how we ended up in these circumstances. “It’s Trump’s/China’s/the Democrats’/the Republicans’/the governors’/Fauci’s/George Soros’/the CDC’s/Bill Gates’/Ernst Stavro Blofeld’s/O.J. Simpson’s/(insert other name here)’s fault!” The number of fingers being pointed in every direction are abundant and rather misguided. (Well, except for the O.J. one. That’s intriguing…)
Scapegoats are indeed convenient in a crisis. However, there is at least one group of Americans that should never have received the brunt of these mudslinging attacks. They kept on popping up in the news cycle, roundly condemned by the smug, holier-than-thou talking heads on the screen. When their activities were witnessed, the bemasked faces of their neighbors screamed, informed on them to the police, sought to destroy them on social media, and/or furiously typed on hastily constructed government “narc on your neighbor” health gestapo websites. From this context, it is rather obvious which band of attacked Americans I am speaking about: the harmless souls that lick pre-purchased grocery items.
Your face got red with anger as soon as they were mentioned, didn’t it? Get that small-minded hatred out of your being right now! These people are being harassed and shamed and now arrested for doing what they do. You are criticizing a legitimate lifestyle choice with your blind fury! What makes you dare think you’re better than them? How can it be “we are all in this together” when “all except for YOU, you germ-laden scum” is being uttered with the same breath?
These individuals have been surreptitiously sampling food in grocery stores for months, for years even. But we looked the other way, feigning ignorance about their comings and goings. Same thing happened when we paid no mind to those that tested cantaloupe ripeness by squeezing them between their knees. We looked away from the folks who determined the nutritional value of frozen peas by shoving bags down the front of their pants. But because of this virus paranoia, suddenly the melon-testers and frozen vegetable-of-the-loom evaluators were tossed aside so the grocery-lickers of the world could be singled-out, rebuked and treated like lepers? You disgusting hypocrites!
You people never cared before when you purchased ice cream gallons that had obvious tongue trails on the top. What about the already opened milk jugs that obviously had a pre-purchase sampler’s backwash? Can you explain with a straight face why you had no problem eating strawberries that probably had been swished around earlier in someone else’s mouth? Of course, you can’t. Oh, but nowadays you’ll react to any of these people with a level of anger that could only be justified if Hitler himself opened a lemonade stand right on your front lawn!
But now Pandora’s Box has been opened and, if not for your misplaced rage, it could have been probably innocuously licked inside already. Since all fearful eyes are busy watching everyone else nowadays, the nanosecond a licker is noticed, there’s this reaction: “YOU are the spreader of viruses and the destroyer of worlds! Lock them up! Now! KILL THEM NOW, DAMMIT!!!” A phone call, handcuffs, and a public shaming on a level that should be only reserved for the 2017 Houston Astros later, the shrieking finger-pointing body-snatched do-gooders have their fall guys and gals. It is sad. It didn’t have to come to this.
Chances are the accused never even had or carried the virus. They were just minding their own business, minimally distributing their saliva over cereal boxes and potato chips. Suddenly they’ve been castigated and destroyed and fined and arrested and…some weren’t even carriers. What are you going to do now? Apologize? Probably not. You’d gladly inform on them and others like them again in a heartbeat. You think you’re being a wonderful citizen, doing your civic duty. Well, there was someone else that encouraged that kind of blind devotion to the greater good of the state. Remember that guy I mentioned earlier who’s now selling lemonade in your yard? Yep, that’s right: him.
Before this virus, these folks were like impromptu personal food tasters, giving us a feeling of pride and honor. We felt special knowing that those bananas were lovingly caressed by some stranger’s tongue before we bought the bunch. What a difference a repressive virus lockdown makes! Now these same gentle beings are treated lower than dog dirt and labelled “Typhoid Marys” and “Tuberculosis Marvins”. Their world and our attitudes changed literally overnight.
So instead of reacting in a hostile kneejerk manner, filled with hatred and unbridled wrath, let us all join as one, six feet apart from each other. Take a masked breath, admit that you’re scared, and realize that this formerly loved slice of the human pie is not to blame for your fears. They are your neighbors, your friends, your loved ones. Understanding and caring open minds are needed in these crucial times. With those healthy and mature attitudes as our foundation, there is every hope that we can rise above this injustice.
And maybe, just maybe, we can all lick this…together.