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Culture

If you shame people for wearing masks, you only succeed in making yourself look ridiculous

If you shame people for wearing masks, you only succeed in making yourself look ridiculous

My husband was working out in our front yard, wearing an N95 mask, when a man driving by gestured to his face and yelled, "Take it off!"

I've seen anti-maskers. I've heard their arguments for not wearing a mask in the middle of a viral pandemic. I know they think they don't work, or that they actually make you sick, or that they're a way for the government to control our behavior, or [fill-in-the-blank conspiracy theory]. But I wish I could bring that guy back and show him what he was actually yelling at.

My husband wasn't wearing a mask for COVID, you see. He was mixing concrete to fix our front steps. He's always worn an N95 mask when he does home improvement projects that involve fine particulate dust, as he values his lung health. In fact, that's why we had a stash of N95s that we were able to donate to medical workers early in the pandemic.

Telling my husband to take off his mask in that case was just flat-out dumb. But honestly, shaming people for wearing a mask for any reason is dumb.


We're in a weird time of the pandemic where mask-wearing for COVID reasons is a question mark for a lot of us. On the one hand, the CDC says those who are vaccinated can ditch the masks. On the other hand, those who aren't vaccinated are also largely ditching their masks—if they ever wore one to begin with—which means the virus will still spread. We also have new variants emerging that pose a greater threat to unvaccinated people, including children who can't get the vaccine and immunocompromised people for whom the vaccine may not produce as strong of an immune response as desired.

And while we're making good headway in mitigating the pandemic in the U.S., it's certainly not over. It's not like masking is a bad idea at this point; it's just not necessary if you're vaccinated and healthy. If people still want to wear a mask for themselves or for others, more power to them. Unlike NOT wearing a mask during an uncontrolled pandemic, wearing one poses no harm to anyone. It's nobody's business if someone else chooses to wear a mask.

Plus, there are many, many reasons people might choose to continue wearing a mask, even if they are fully vaccinated. Maybe they have other health issues. Maybe they have a condition that makes the vaccine less effective.

Check out the experience of someone who has been wearing a mask in public since 2014 due to health issues.

"Pre-covid ppl were nice about my mask," they wrote. "In the past year I've been yelled at, coughed on and spit at for wearing a mask"

Absolutely ridiculous.

And approaching a stranger's child, who not only isn't old enough to have gotten a vaccine but who also has immune issues, and telling them they don't need to wear a mask anymore? Uh uh. Nope. Not okay.

Someone else wearing a mask does not impact you in any way. If someone wants to or needs to wear a mask, they are free to do so—and they don't even have to explain their reasoning.

You would think that after a year and a half of global pandemic and 600,000 deaths in the U.S. alone, there wouldn't be any controversy over people masking. I even know people who say they're going to continue wearing masks during cold and flu season because it was so nice to not get sick this year.

I lived in Japan more than 20 years ago, and it was commonplace to see people wearing masks in public places because they had a cold and didn't want to pass it on to others. That kind of thoughtfulness and concern for others' health completely blew my American mind. The contrast with people here now shaming others for wearing a mask is really something.

Maybe the key is to wear a mask that the even most hardened anti-masker can't complain about, like this American flag mask.

"Why are you wearing a mask?"

"Because I love my country. Why do you hate America?"

Maybe it could work.

The bottom line is there are dozens of reasons people might be wearing a mask at this point, pandemic or no pandemic, and it is none of your business if they are. The guy who yelled at my husband made himself look like a fool, but honestly, so does every person who shames someone for wearing a mask. No one needs your opinion on choices that don't affect you, so just stop.

Nature

Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave that’s been closed for 70 years

You can only access the cave from the basement of the home and it’s open for business.

This Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave.

Have you ever seen something in a movie or online and thought, "That's totally fake," only to find out it's absolutely a real thing? That's sort of how this house in Pennsylvania comes across. It just seems too fantastical to be real, and yet somehow it actually exists.

The home sits between Greencastle and Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, and houses a pretty unique public secret. There's a cave in the basement. Not a man cave or a basement that makes you feel like you're in a cave, but an actual cave that you can't get to unless you go through the house.

Turns out the cave was discovered in the 1830s on the land of John Coffey, according to Uncovering PA, but the story of how it was found is unclear. People would climb down into the cave to explore occasionally until the land was leased about 100 years later and a small structure was built over the cave opening.

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A growing number of people are reevaluating traditional relationships and entering lifestyles that work for them instead of trying to fit into preexisting roles. It makes sense because the more lifestyle options that are available, the greater chance we have to be happy.

A recent trend in unconventional relationships is married couples "living apart together," or LATs as they are known among mental health professionals.

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Marie Kondo playing with her daughters.

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It also sparked backlash from parents who insisted that keeping a tidy home with children was not so simple. It's one thing to get rid of an old sweater that no longer brings you joy. It's entirely another to toss an old, empty cereal box that sparks zero joy for you, but that your 2-year-old is inexplicably attached to.

To be fair, Kondo never forced her way into anyone's home and made them organize it her way. But also to be fair, she didn't have kids when she wrote her best-selling book on keeping a tidy home. The reality is that keeping a home organized and tidy with children living in it is a whole other ballgame, as Kondo has discovered now that she has three kids of her own.

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Pop Culture

YouTube star MrBeast sponsors 1,000 people's cataract surgery to help them see again

"I had never heard of MrBeast so I almost hung up. But gratefully did not hang up."

YouTube star sponsors 1,000 people's cataract surgery

Blindness touches people's lives around the world and YouTube star Jimmy Donaldson, more popularly known as MrBeast, is trying to do something about it. Donaldson made it his mission to help 1,000 people regain their eyesight with the help of Dr. Jeff Levenson, an ophthalmologist and surgeon in Jacksonville, Florida.

Levenson has been operating a program called "Gift of Sight" for over 20 years. The program provides free cataract surgery to uninsured people who are legally blind for free, so long as they meet certain criteria. Levenson had never heard of Donaldson, and he almost hung up on him when the YouTube star called to ask about a partnership.

"I had never heard of MrBeast so I almost hung up. But gratefully did not hang up," Levenson told CNN.

After figuring out that Donaldson was indeed a real person who wanted to help others, the duo called around the Jacksonville area to determine the people who needed help the most. They got their list of clients from free clinics and homeless shelters, which covered the United States portion of the surgeries.

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If you're in the group of people who need to be entertained, look no further than Gaël Monfils, a professional French tennis player that has earned the nickname, "The Entertainer." Monfils turned pro in 2004 and has multiple championship matches under his belt, and yet he still takes the time to be...extra while playing.

In a compilation video uploaded to TikTok, we see the 36-year-old tennis player dancing after hitting the ball across the net just out of his opponent's reach. But of course, he also doesn't hit the ball like your average player, either. In one part of the video, Monfils jumps up extremely high and bicycle kicks as he hits the ball with his tongue hanging out of his mouth.

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