A Super Hero Complex (A Couple of COVID stories)

Syndrome, the bad guy from The Incredibles, had it right when he said, “With everyone Super, no one will be.” That’s how I feel the world is now.

A buddy of mine was jogging on a treadmill at his gym. The mask fell down below his nose. He fixed it, and it kept happening. So eventually he left it. Screw it. His nose cooties were already out there anyway, right?

Well, the guy jogging next to him turned to him and said, “Hey man, you’ve got to cover your nose with your mask.”

Annoyed, my friend complied. But he was irked. So when he got done with his run, he said to his nosy neighbor, “Good job, buddy. You really saved a life today,” and flashed him a hugely sarcastic thumb’s up.

I’ve been out of a job since March because of this flu thing going around. I recently took a part-time job working at a warehouse to help make ends meet for me and my family. I got written up on my first day there.

Now, I’ve never been written up for anything in my nearly 20 years as a working class citizen. Let me tell you why it happened.

I’m there at 4:30 in the morning with a bunch of other grumpy new-hires. You can tell these were people who were not happy about having to take this warehouse job. One guy was a geologist in a recent, better life, and now here he was wearing a reflective vest.

Anyway, once the verbal training was over, it was time for us to go out into the warehouse and learn the tricks of the trade. We were each paired up with a worker and that worker was to teach us how to use the handheld device in order to scan the boxes and so on.

I was paired up with a 90-some year old man who was more in shape than me, but could hardly speak very well, especially with the confines of his mask and the noises erupting all around us.

So he had to stand close to me to show me how to work the hand-held monitor, and so that he could be heard.

A young shift leader suddenly came storming up to us, and yelled, “Hey! You’re supposed to be six feet apart! You should know better! I’m gonna have to write you both up.”

I said to the kid who had way too much power than he knew what to do with, “Take it easy, man. He’s just doing his job, showing me how to work here. And it’s my first day. You’re really going to do this?”

“Yes, I am. This is serious. It’s for your safety, you understand. I’m trying to keep you both safe.”

Safe from what? I wanted to ask. We had all had our temperatures checked before coming into the building. But I let that slide. However, I did ask him, “So how else is he supposed to train me if he can’t show me how to use the hand-held machine?”

His answer was, “I don’t know. That’s just something you have to figure out on your own.”

Now call me crazy, but if you’re going to reprimand someone for saying or doing something, like I do with my kids, the best course of action is to offer an alternative way of acting. But no, this dude had no idea how either of us were to do our job going forward – he was just going to write us up for, well, doing our jobs.

And here’s the funny part.

He asked to scan our badges that were hung around our necks. He scanned my elderly trainer’s, then he scanned mine. I held mine close to my chest so that he had no choice but to step within two feet of me.

I called him out on that. “You realize you just broke the very rule you’re writing me up for.”

Suffice it to say, he was not happy with me; I was not happy with him.

I did report him to HR and they apparently reprimanded him for writing someone up on their first day of work without any warning, and the company apologized profusely to me.

But people have this super hero complex where they have this idea that the media has fed them where the masks save lives.

I passive-aggressively blame the MCU for this super hero complex. It’s the generation who grew up wanting to be Iron Man and Thor that seem to be the most dogmatic about saving the world with their face diapers.

Let me tell you, if you’re not sick and I’m not sick, your mask and my mask aren’t going to help you any more than the pebble in my shoe is going to affect your foot or vise versa.

If you really want to be a hero, mind your own business. Batman never told people how to act. He just chilled in his Bat Cave if he didn’t want to be around anyone. Locked himself in. Left everyone else alone.


Published by Andrew Toy

Writer when I'm not being a husband or dad. So mostly just a husband and dad.

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