On Being A Skeptic And NOT Being An Asshole About It

by William Skink

Did you know it is possible to be skeptical about the pandemic but not be an asshole about it?

I’ll use myself as an example.

I wear a mask when I’m in commercial spaces, even when it’s not required. I understand and respect how irrationally fearful people are, and I also understand how the mask has been turned into a politically divisive symbol of freedom vs. tyranny. I’m not going to waste energy on opposing mask-wearing when the real threat is a mandatory vaccine program cooked up by sociopaths and administered by the military.

I don’t bring my little germ-sponges–aka, children–into stores with me when I’m shopping. My oldest, half-jokingly, said he wants to go into Target for his birthday as his birthday gift. Not to buy anything, just to be in a store.

I’m not rushing into bars and restaurants and cram-packed swimming pools in the Ozarks now that things are reopening. I stay at home, play with Legos, and drink box wine like a good adult male with kids and no social life.

Since there is a reopening going on, and a subsequent media effort to highlight the most obnoxious visual examples of violating our NEW NORMAL social distancing requirements, let me offer a personal example of what reopening looks like for me.

Yesterday I hosted a social gathering. My friend came over with his two girls, and another friend came over with his partner. The kids played and laughed over a fart gun. We ate hotdogs and had a fire. It was great.

We talked about the risk of our gathering in our backyard to eat hotdogs and to let the kids play. I think we understand the risk as best we can, considering how dubious much of the information has been, and how flawed the models were.

Should I be ashamed of this gathering? Am I being an asshole by hanging out with a few friends who have social lives that are about as exciting as mine?

I’m sure some will think yes, yes I am being an asshole. And that’s fine. But until the freedom to hang out with other people is completely removed, I’m going to take the risk of doing what social herd animals need to do in order to maintain my mental health.

About Travis Mateer

I'm an artist and citizen journalist living and writing in Montana. You can contact me here: willskink at yahoo dot com
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5 Responses to On Being A Skeptic And NOT Being An Asshole About It

  1. james says:

    i think you are approaching it the right way myself… you are being responsible while also trying to move forward and be flexible… i have done a few things prior to this opening up phase – one outdoor gig, another studio session and yesterday had a meeting – indoors – with 2 music friends… life has to go on.. i think we know enough about this to be able to pick out spots if we are concerned, and to not be overly draconian about it all. i think we have to let everyone process this to the best of their abilities.. and i think it is different depending on where you live.. for me living on vancouver island where few cases have been seen, it is easier and i am able to access the outdoors very easily without concern of bumping into people… it would be much more difficult in a larger city… we all have to process it individually to the best of our abilities.. cheers.. james – from moa..

  2. Big Swede says:


    The details are always fine printed.

  3. JC says:

    FWIW, I am taking a risk assessment approach. How risky is any particular activity in my day? For instance, more people have died driving on Montana’s highways (36) this year than from COVID-19 (16). While I take all necessary precautions these days while driving, I can’t account for the guy coming at me who reaches over to pick up his dropped cell phone and swerves into me (how a friend of mine was killed last fall just a few miles from my home). So I conclude that it is more risky to get into the car and drive up or down 93 to do whatever at the end of the trip (go shopping for food or tools, visit family) than it is to do whatever it is I’m planning on doing. But I still do it. As Skink says, we are social creatures.

    And the potential loss of freedom and liberty to creeping (leaping?) fascism is always on my mind, and has been most of my adult life. One can be a social libertarian without having to also embrace economic libertarianism (Austrian style). And one can be an anarchist, if one has a strong ethical bent and strong moral framework, so as to do no harm to one’s neighbors. The lockdown mentality — both the drive to do it (politicians and deep staters), and the call from the sheep to do it — is nothing more than a symptom of an immature society needing to grow up before it implodes.

  4. Eric says:

    You figured it out – there is and has been no crisis in Montana.

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