Editor's desk stock photo.

The Editor’s Desk: Don’t be that person

Think social distancing is a load of hooey? Stay away from me

Don’t be that person.

The one who refuses to social distance, won’t respect personal space or boundaries, crowds up against you in the checkout line, then gets annoyed when you back away or remind them “Six feet.” It’s not about you, so get over yourself, and stay away from me, in every sense.

Don’t be that person.

The one who dismisses all the talk and action surrounding COVID-19 as “panic” or “hysteria” or “exaggeration” or “fuelled by the media”. If you truly believe that, please feel free to be in touch with the family of someone who has died from COVID-19 and tell them it’s all just an exaggeration.

Don’t be that person.

The one who has no medical or scientific training but doesn’t let that stop them from pontificating on medical and scientific matters and “explaining” how and why the experts are wrong. Are you an epidemiologist? No? Then please don’t tell me how the World Health Organization’s data is flawed.

Don’t be that person.

The one who takes more than they need or can reasonably use at the grocery store, the pharmacy, the hardware store. Don’t get into a shouting match over a package of toilet paper. Don’t berate staff because the store is out of what you particularly need. Don’t complain about limits on certain items.

Don’t be that person.

The one who pushes someone else to do something they can’t or shouldn’t. No, your kids can’t come over to our house for a play date. No, the barber can’t open up just for you, or come to your house, no matter how much you need a haircut. No, the store that has said phone-in orders and deliveries only can’t let you in. No, you can’t go ahead with the birthday party/vacation/anniversary celebration.

Don’t be that person.

The one who fires off a Facebook screed because a business is closed, or limiting service, or is making them go slightly out of their way to get service. Those businesses would love nothing more than to be operating as usual, instead of laying off staff and wondering if they’re going to survive. If they’re still open, thank them. They’re staying open so your life can be somewhat normal. If, because of some perceived slight, you’re trying to “take them down” via social media, reflect on what this says about you. Hint: It’s not pleasant.

Don’t be that person.

The one who obsessively haunts social media all day, picking fights based on only one side of a story, working themself up over false rumours and misinformation, or spreading false rumours and misinformation. Don’t believe everything you read. If you can’t get independent, reliable verification, or don’t know all the details, don’t hit “send”. Step away from the keyboard and go for a walk.

Don’t be that person.

The one who names and shames on social media over some real or perceived transgression. During WW II, women in Allied countries who were suspected of fraternizing with German soldiers would have their heads forcibly shaved to publicly shame them. Just because you’re using a computer rather than a pair of scissors doesn’t make the phenomenon any less ugly. Take a deep breath, then phone your municipal office or the RCMP and ask for guidance or assistance.

Do be that person.

The one who is kind. Kindness is a quiet virtue, and some people equate it with weakness. Ignore them. We all need to be kind, now more than ever: to others and to ourselves. If someone is afraid, comfort them. If someone is in need, help them. If someone is being unkind, do not respond with anger, but with kindness. Remember, this will end one day. Act now the way you would like to be remembered when that day comes.


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