Sally wearing a spotty mask

Not Special

TLDR; You are not special. Wear a damn mask.

You are an individual. There’s no-one else on Earth quite like you, there never has been, and there never will be. You are the only you we’ve got.

But listen, pal. Being an individual does not mean you’re special. 

Disappointed? Don’t be. None of us are special really, despite our individuality. There are a couple of traits which set us each apart, yes, but we’re quite similar to each other in the grand scheme of things.

Why am I telling you this? Well, I was going to write it even before the most recent change in guidance, because I’ve been to the supermarket a couple of times recently, and it has struck me that a lot of people who live near me think they are special. How do I know this? Because they are choosing to act like the rules don’t apply to them –  they are special enough not to wear a face covering in a supermarket, even when explicitly told to do so. Even after we all got angry with Dominic Cummings for breaking the rules (alongside being truly one of the most objectionable individuals I have the displeasure of sharing this Earth with)

Let me break away here for a disclaimer. The rules which currently exist in this country are deeply questionable and often conflicting. They are being interpreted wildly differently from one venue to another. And there are many people who the rules do not or cannot apply to – and I support those people fully. If you are not able (because of physical or mental health reasons) to wear a face covering then you should still feel able to get on with living your life right now. If you have good reasons to meet in a group of more than six, I am so sorry that you’re now not able to.


The rules exist, and for 99% of people, there are no barriers, or minimal barriers, to following those rules. You might not like them, you might not believe them, but if you just behave like a grown adult you will find yourself able to follow them. Does following a one-way system in a park mean you’ll be 30 seconds late getting back to work? Maybe, but you’re not unable to do it, so why shout at a voluntary event steward and be objectionable? What have you gained? Certainly not your precious 30 seconds (yes, this exact interaction happened to me)

Does not being allowed to meet in a group of more than six make a real, material difference to you? If you really think hard about it? Can you find no possible way of living your life in a world where at one time you’re only allowed to be with five other people?

I am a professional rule-maker and enforcer, so I know a thing or two about the rules.

  • Firstly – rules were not made to be broken. They were made because people repeatedly took decisions or actions which were agreed by a societal or organisational majority to be the wrong ones, and so we made a rule to stop that from happening, or to force something different to happen.
  • Secondly – all rules are not well-made. Rule makers should recognise this, and should be willing to change and adapt their rules on the basis of testing and feedback.
  • Thirdly – just because a rule has not been well-made, does not mean you should break it. Challenge it, by all means, complain,  lobby, vote with your feet and don’t continue attending a venue where you disagree with the rules. Vote with your vote and kick out a government who makes rules you disagree with. BUT until the rules are actually changed, you have to keep following them. Why? Because every time you ignore a rule, you endorse others doing the same and you reinforce the notion that the rule is needed, and is needed more strongly than the rule-maker thought.

So just because you feel like you’ve done “research” (talk to me about this by all means, I have a Masters by Research which I passed with distinction after writing over 15,000 publishable words on my topic and a further 20,000 in analytical appendices) and so you “know” that face coverings don’t work, doesn’t mean you get to keep breaking the rule. I accept that it’s hazy – it was a rule brought in too late in the UK, and with not enough clarity and justification of the scientific basis for the decision. But it is a decision which has been made, by people who have access to more actual research than you do (see above, fight me) and we need to abide by it until such a time as it is revised.

As restrictions ramp up across the UK (because of constant rule-breaking) now is the time to take a good look at yourself, remember that you are not special and that the rules apply to you just as clearly as to anyone else, and adhere to them. All of the information you need is here (if you’re in the UK) and if you disagree with the rules as so many of us do, you can petition the UK parliament or contact your local MP. Oh and by the way, this applies to lots of things – don’t like how something is run? Tell someone. Be active. Show you care.

But stop breaking the rules in the meantime. People are dying. You are not special. You do not know better. Wear a damn mask.

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