I Heard the News Today, O Boy

I Heard the News Today, O Boy

I didn’t think it would come this soon, but those of us who are fully vaccinated and have waited out the 14-day probation period are not required to wear masks anymore, nor observe social distancing, and we may mix and mingle without more than slight, self-created worries.

That’s currently about 35% of our population and covers most of the most vulnerable, namely, those over 60 years old.

I have mixed feelings about this. I’m glad to not have to wear it when doing anything outside my apartment, but I am going to miss the camaraderie of those who masked for the last year. I will miss others identifying me as a good citizen, for always wearing a mask, and not endangering others. I think all of us who were conscientious about mask-wearing should get to have a little button to wear proudly, like “I masked every time I went out.” We former maskers will now look like anti-maskers and scofflaws. We have lost our distinction, our virtue, our recognition of being good citizens.

Some of us will keep wearing our masks, especially if the mask is a fashion statement. I may continue to wear it because it masks my missing tooth that will be replaced with an implant in a few months, after the ‘cadaver’ bone build up is completely integrated into my jaw. For me then, masks were cosmetic. I have a prosthesis, like a retainer for kids getting their teeth straightened, but it makes me lisp when speaking, and I don’t like to wear it. I could keep wearing the mask for a few months and be numbered among the anti-mask relief deniers.

The good news is that it brings us much closer to reopening our Church. New guidelines may be required for in-person get-togethers.

Here is a new temporary feature of my MM: annoying diction errors. Diction errors are those of choosing the wrong word. Think ‘dictionary.’

P.S. to young people: These words are used in the verbal section of the PSAT and SAT and GRE, so I hope you will memorize them.

Before he died in 2010, conservative newspaperman and logophile James J. Kirkpatrick and I had a friendly exchange of letters about misuse of words. I shall begin today with the difference between ‘alternate’ and ‘alternative.’

‘Alternate’ means ‘to succeed in turns,’ such as On/Off, red-light/green-light, bouts of depression alternating with period of euphoria, etc.

‘Alternative’ refers to choosing, to something available as a different possibility, such as ‘Alternative Service,’ or any choice of alternative actions or expressions denoting a choice.

The number of people who use ‘alternate’ instead of ‘alternative’ is shockingly high, and they should just knock it off.

Next week we will examine the word ‘identify.’ Hint: it’s a reflexive verb.


Rev. Leland Bond-Upson

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