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The Rev. Jim Watkins and Roxie Column: To mask or not to mask

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Jim Watkins

“Jim, you humans seem to be going around and around about wearing masks and it’s not even Halloween.”

“Roxie, you are pulling my leg again. You’ve done that so many times, one leg is shorter than the other. You know as well as I do that the discussion about masks has to do with wearing a cloth mask in public during the pandemic.”

“I was pulling your leg. I’ve been writing up the mask controversy in my human watcher’s guide book. From where I stand or sit or lay down, whether or not to wear a mask in public has become a partisan litmus test.”

“You are a very wise canine. Indeed it has and that’s unfortunate. The medical case is clear. Wearing masks in public cuts down on the infection rate and as we all know, that rate is surging. But at heart, in my opinion this is a question of theology. Am I my brother and sister’s keeper or not? How does the Golden Rule apply here? What does wearing a mask have to do with doing unto others as you would have them do unto you?”

“What do you come up with as you ask those questions about wearing masks?”

“As you can imagine, it is personal with me, Next month I turn 77 and as we’ve talked about, I’m in the midst of cancer treatment. As far as the virus is concerned, I feel like I’m in an iconic Far Side cartoon. Two bears are standing up in the woods. One of the bears has a big bull’s eye on its chest. The other bear says, ‘that’s a bummer of a birthmark’. I’m certainly in the high risk group when it comes to the virus. When I’m out in public wearing my mask, I’m grateful for all the other masked folks. I thank them.”

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“Jim, I know you are anxious. I hear your concern and take a hard look at what is happening during these days of division. It seems to me that we all need to recover the notion that it is not just about me. The world doesn’t revolve around me. We are all in this together. Do you think there will be progress toward more humans in our area wearing masks.?”

“I do. We are lucky to have local public officials who understand the concept of the common good. We are all connected. I’m pleased that the Georgetown City Council has passed a mask ordinance and even as we speak, the County Council is getting ready to vote on an ordinance.”

“On that note Jim, time for Happy Hour. You’ll have to pull your mask down as we toast mask wearers. We’ll continue to keep our social distance.”

“Amen, Roxie, Amen.”

The Rev. Dr. Jim Watkins lives in Pawleys Island. His column is published twice monthly.

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