My mom had this thing. She could make my brother and me behave with just a look. I thought it was a thing all mothers could do with their kids, but my mom had a superpower. She could look at any kid, anywhere give that look and the kid would stop. Crying baby in the store, my mom would give the look and no more crying. A toddler screaming and starting to throw things, my mom would give the look, the behavior would stop. Honest. No one wanted that stare down.
Infants communicate hunger or discomfort by crying and the full body scream. As children mature and learn language and logic, there is a transition period where they test rules and boundaries. When they are told no, to stop doing something or how to behave, they are confused. After all, up to the point in their short lives, crying and screaming has always worked to get what they wanted. People have adored them and catered to their whims. What’s going on now? Why isn’t that old behavior working? This is a time when young children learn they cannot get what they want by crying, screaming and whining; this is a part of emotional development.
Except for those who don’t. Some adults don’t have emotional maturity and they “tantrum” as an irrational reaction to being told no. The tantrum is often confused with fight, as in fight or flight. Except flight or fight are logical reactions to a dangerous situation whereas a tantrum is an illogical reaction to being told no. It is a vigorous refusal of an accepted norm. Five months into the pandemic, there is a new role emerging, the Covidiot Crusaders. They are essential workers keep all of us safe by asking people to comply with the rules and wear a mask. Increasingly, these workers are met with resistance and foul behavior. People yelling and screaming, throwing things from their carts, charging into stores maskless, refusing to wear masks on public transportation are a few examples. The Covidiots insult, confront, assault and even brandish weapons at workers who are asking them to comply with rules.
There are more and more videos each day of adult tantrums. A hint to y’all, if people take out cameras, stop it. Just stop it. Trust and believe, the shaky handheld camera is not going to capture your best angles and you are going to look stupid. You will sound selfish and emotionally immature when you claim the video clip is “out of context.” The internet has no chill, you will be meme’d, gif’ed, and part of a running commentary for talk show hosts and comedians. Stop it and behave. When the cameras come out, keep your dignity and walk away.
Wearing a mask is a super power we all have. There are workers doing what wasn’t in the job description, risking insult and injury to themselves by simply asking people to comply with policy. Five months in, anyone maskless in places requiring masks are starting off in a defiant stance, ready to tantrum and ready to put others at risk with their recklessness, so, yes, they are Covidiots. This week, take a moment and give thanks for the Covidiot Crusaders, those workers who have to ask patrons to obey the rules and laws and wear a mask.