Editor’s Note: This post is written by Peter Bockenthien, a Colorado resident who is hearing impaired. While parts of it are tongue-in-cheek, Peter wrote it to shine a light on the difficulties people who are hearing impaired, hard of hearing, or completely deaf are having with mask mandates.
by Peter Bockenthien
That’s what I’ve been asking my entire life. What? How? Why? When? Those are questions for the intellectually lazy, the copy-and-paste crowd. I’ve been told that I shouldn’t stereotype journalists, nor lump them together with experts and politicians.
Because I became deaf after acquiring language—now you know what “post-lingually deaf” means—at age 21, and because at heart I’m a court jester with an optimistic outlook, and because I had to learn how to walk, talk, and read again, I’ve lived the past 39 years in relative isolation from the intellectual decline.
Back in March 2020, I had already figured out that we have #HerdImmunity to SARS-Cov-2, the official science-y sounding name for COVID-19. How did I know that? Because I read and I think about what I’m reading. A very long time ago I read that 4 coronaviruses (there are 7 of them) cause the common cold, and that a coronavirus vaccine was like the holy grail of vaccines but don’t remember why, just that it was.
I remembered that. And then I looked at the data for Colorado, and whipped out my trusty TI-38 Special calculator and began firing numbers. My wife and son just looked at me like I was on drugs when I said, “We won’t get infected with COVID-19.” Yeah, I skipped herd immunity and went for the relevant thing at hand.
I had great hope that we as a society would finally, finally, finally! learn that we are all born with an immune system and that germ theory is a pile of rubbish. Remember all those deaths that were projected? Remember all those comparisons to the Kansas Flu Pandemic of 1918?
What? You didn’t know that it originated in Kansas? Shame on you. Sorry. I was saying that we would finally learn that viruses don’t cause sickness unless we let them.
Yeah, what a radically stupid thing to say about the Spanish Flu, but you need to understand something: the data doesn’t lie.
The data in April said that 99.5% of all Coloradans were healthy. It also indicated that 89% of all deaths occurred in those ages 60 and older. Baby Boomers were dying. At the end of August, which is where we are now, the data still says the same thing: we’re all good.
Welp, there’s a problem with this.
One: It’s a Non-Medical Mask Mandate. Really. A non-medical mask for medical purposes.
The logic: you must wear a mask so you don’t infect people with the disease you don’t have.
Not long after our governor’s mandate, I came across a JAMA study among health care professionals who already are required to wear a mask. How does N95 masks work compared to medical masks? As part of the study they follow up anyone who has respiratory distress symptoms with the PCR test.
Here are the viruses that trigger a positive PCR test:
States that are reporting an increase in cases using the PCR test have no clue as to which virus triggered the positive result.
If it were SARS-Cov-2 then there would be corresponding deaths 4 to 14 days later depending on the severity of the symptoms.
But that isn’t the case.
So, if masks don’t work in that environment, why would they work inside a public building?
It’s logical to conclude that non-medical masks don’t stand a chance at preventing one from breathing in a single pathogen.
Shut up and wear a damn mask! I cannot in good conscious capitulate to politicized ignorance.
The Non-Medical Mask Mandate has several exemptions. “People who cannot tolerate a face covering are exempt from the mandate, as are people who are hearing impaired or who are communicating with someone who is hearing impaired.”https://coloradosun.com/2020/07/16/colorado-statewide-mask-order-jared-polis/ Yay!
Here’s the Colorado governor’s Executive Order.
Do you know what a hearing-impaired person looks like? No? Have you not seen the universal Hearing Impaired identification T-shirt that we hearing impaired people wear like yellow stars? HI is not Hello. It’s not Hearing Impaired, it stands for Hawaii. Duh.
Then there’s the language issue. Most people don’t know some basic American Sign Language, so I resort to simple gestures which serves to reinforce that I’m stupid, can’t talk, and then if I must use my voice, it’s startling loud.
I’ve been loud since birth. I gave my 7-year-old friends heart attacks while playing hide and seek. “Hey!” In high school drama the director sat in the back exhorting all actors to be “Louder! Project your voice! Peter! Down, Peter, down! Shhhh!”
So, I’m reluctant at times to use my voice because I know it’s loud. I also have a hearing impairment accent that sounds German, which I am.
When I communicate with my voice that I’m hearing impaired and exempt from the Non-Medical Mask Mandate That Will Not Stop You From Getting Sick From The Disease That 99.5% Of Us Don’t Have, I come across as a total idiot. People believe whatever they want to believe as I’ve explained here in my PhD/MDiv hypothesis.
So I wear a mask simply because it’s depressing to deal with people’s ignorance and fear. The phone apps available to translate speech into text can’t understand muffled voices. Duck.
I’ve toyed with the idea of getting a custom-made T-shirt with the Exemptions printed on it but I know it won’t work unless the governor is personally at my side when, with my Hands That Have Been All Over The Place, I inspect the organic produce in the Wholy of Wholies that has been magically purified with who knows what so that no one dare breathe on it. Same with frozen pizza.
I’ve also toyed with a T-shirt that reads “Healthy People Don’t Spread The Disease They Don’t Have.”
If you don’t have symptoms, just wait a few days. If you don’t have symptoms, wait a few more days. While you wait for a disease that is never coming for you no matter what you do, wear a damn mask.
About the author: Peter Bockenthien was born hard of hearing. At age 21 he became deaf and had to learn how to walk, talk, and read again. Abandoned by family, rejected by his church for “not having enough faith,” and given no diagnosis nor prognosis by dozens of medical professionals, Peter took it upon himself to learn how to heal his body and spirit. Today he and his partner enjoy life outdoors with their son.