It's All about the Food by Pat Smith

What am I doing? Sitting in my comfy chair, feet propped up, watching TV. This requires no real investment on my part. I can consciously pay attention or doze off, which ever is most appealing.

“Watching” seems to be a common thing. I'm always hearing a person say they are watching their diet. Again, watching doen't require much investment. Open mouth, insert fork, chew, and swallow. Most often I find “watching” simply reflects an intent to eat less. Not that they necessarily do, you understand, they just mean to eat less.

I should note that the amount a person eats is rarely as important the content of their diet. But more about that another time.

This COVID-19 pandemic appears to be worthy of “watching.” As I observe the Arkansas governor's daily update, I read all the comments made by other watchers. It seems that we “watchers” are clearly better qualified than the governor and the health department to make decisions for the state. But, in reality, we rarely agree on what we should do.

Open the schools, never open the schools, close the churches, open the churches, never open restaurants, close them down. Recounting at length businesses/locations where people have not distanced or worn masks. Complaining at length about being asked to distance or wear a mask.

And there are always a few critical of the look on the governor's face or the sound of his voice. Sometimes it gets nasty.

I am not here to agree or disagree with the steps being taken in Arkansas. Although, if you know me, you know that I have opinions. I am here to suggest that watching and second guessing is no better than watching the food leave your plate.

My view, for what its worth. I have never been a fan of laws that require seat belts and motorcycle helmets. If you want to take a chance on killing yourself, I think it is your right. That doesn't affect me unless you want me to contribute to treating you at the hospital. I don't think my taxes should contribute to your poor choices.

On the other hand, I see this differently when your choices affect me personally. This is where people's views on social distancing, masks, and general cleanliness come in.

Among us are people really worried about being infected. Some of those worriers are people with significant underlying health conditions. They should be worried and ought to be staying at home. The vast majority of those hospitalized and dying fall into this category.

Others are worried because that is just what they do. Some aren't worried at all but believe that a few simple steps to protect others are worthwhile. And there are those who think the whole thing is malarky and firmly believe that protection directives infringe on their rights.

If you want to watch something, watch what happens in the businesses/locations you visit. Make your choices based on what you think is important.

If you are concerned about being infected or infecting others.

Understand the basic protection principles:

• The further away you are from other people who might be infected the better off you are. Consider six feet or more to be ideal. The distance is what protects you.

• When that amount of distancing is not possible, wear a mask so you don't infect someone else.You never know when you might come in contact with someone's mom, dad, grandma, even a child with an underlying condition.

• A small entrance entering a store with a lot of space and no crowd suggests that the mask worn at the entrance is the most important.

• Primary protection is distance. Don't expect to be forced by law to stay at a distance. Pay attention to the amount of distance.

Look for the restaurants/beauty shops/spas that have wait staff/operators wearing masks, six feet distance between tables/stations, and require that you wear a mask. They are doing the best they can protect you and themselves.

If the other businesses you visit are always too crowded to maintain distancing and most people don't wear masks, just don't go there.

If you are NOT concerned about being infected or infecting others

Out of respect for the rights of others, keep your distance from people wearing masks. They are concerned. Out of respect for the right of the state to have specific directives, follow the rules specified by the businesses/locations such as restaurants. Otherwise you are on your own.

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