Be Strong Wear a Mask

Photo by Sami Anas on

There are men and women who genuinely believe they are being weak if they wear a mask. Some believe – and they must not be attacked for their beliefs –  if they wore a mask, they would be cowards.

Now, I have a question of honorable design. If it is an act of weakness or cowardice to wear a mask, then why is it so hard to do for some folks? I place this question before you in the hopes you will consider what it is asking. Try it on, as it were. If wearing a mask was an act of weakness, it should be easy as pie because it wouldn’t require any strength at all. 

No one wearing a mask these days staggers home at the end of the day, barely able to place one foot in front of the other, utterly exhausted from wearing a mask.

I believe the question unveils a myth we’ve been inundated with for years. Not showing emotion is an act of strength, and, in many cases, protecting yourself is considered an act of weakness. Bring it on, someone says, chin jutting out making it an easier target for a fist.

I don’t think there is a human act much stronger than giving birth to a child. But I dare any man to get so close to a woman in the middle of labor that you’re within arm’s reach, so you can ask, “Hi there. Do you feel strong right now?” Two things will then happen. First, she’s going to say no. Second, you will leave the experience a full-fledged opera soprano.

Acts of strength are not pleasant experiences because they are acts of strength. When I see a weightlifter, male or female, battling to press a ton of poundage straight up over their heads, I gotta tell you, they don’t look like they’re having fun to me. They’re not. They are using a lot of physical strength. Physical strength, emotional strength, spiritual strength. All forms of strength have one thing in common. The experience of any of them is never easy or pleasant.

When one or all are required to get you through a strength-demanding experience, this includes trauma, none of the experiences will be easy. That’s why they require strength.

Wear a mask. Please. You deserve to protect your life like every single one of us. Wear a mask. Be strong.

Trump: Let The People Die

Our house is on fire with COVID-19, and Trump and the members of congress who support him, have decided to let it burn. Let the people die.

Americans are suffering and dying by the thousands and the president of the United States does not want to deal with it, and he has succeeded on this front. In fact, he is so out-of-his-mind with disinterest, he’s telling everybody we’ve turned the corner on this pulverizing virus experience we’re all going through and saying it on the very day more Americans were diagnosed with the COVID-19 (80,085) in a single day than on any other day of this soon to be eleven month old year. You can’t make this craziness up.

It’s deadly. It is lethal. It is murder. First degree mass murder. Trump is killing Americans by design. You see, Trump and his ilk see members of the American family as little more than revenue streams. Disposable ones.

Again: our house is on fire with COVID-19, and Trump and the members of congress who support him, have decided to let it burn. Let the people die.

Nathan Hale Is My Cousin

This week I will visit the Nathan Hale Cemetery in Coventry, Connecticut. Nathan Hale (June 6, 1755 – September 22, 1776) is my cousin.

My name is Peter Sanford Kahrmann. It is a name I am proud of. My name for the first five weeks of my life was, Paul Clark. It is also a name I am proud of. I was adopted at five weeks of age. In  1987, I reunited with my birth-mother. Her name at when she was born was, Leona Patricia Clark. She was born January 31, 1933 and died December 19, 2001.

My mother was Irish and French Canadian, the latter coming from her mother, Mable Milo, who died when my mother was only three years old in 1936. It was researching my grandmother’s family that led me to discover Hale is my cousin.

Hale was executed by the British in New York City for being a spy for General George Washington. He is reported to have said, “I regret that I have only one life to lose for my country,” just before his death.”

British officer, Frederick MacKensie, wrote this in his diary about Nathan that day: “He behaved with great composure and resolution, saying he thought it the duty of every good Officer, to obey any orders given him by his Commander-in-Chief; and desired the Spectators to be at all times prepared to meet death in whatever shape it might appear.”

Nathan’s body was never recovered.

On October 1, 1985, the Connecticut General Assembly, declared Hale the official State Hero.

He was just 21 years old when his life ended.

Hale is the great-grandson of Reverend John Hale, a pivotal figure in the Salem witch trials. He was also an uncle to both orator and statesman Edward Everett and journalist Nathan Hale, and a grand uncle to Edward Everett Hale and his sister, Susan Hale, both writers. All of them, for me, family.

To learn that I am part of this family touches my soul, and brings tears to my eyes; it is a massively humbling reality. What skill I have with the words of my language cannot possibly express how much being part Hale’s family means to me. I can tell you this. If ever courage found its way through a family tree, Nathan Hale’s courage found my mother Leona. I’ve known no one more courageous in life than my mother, and no one with a more loving, compassionate heart.

The Perils of Texting

I hereby declare that if anyone wants to have a conversation of any substance with me, it will not be through texting. Texting is best suited for short, succinct sentences, and nothing more.

Trying to make a substantive point or have a substantive exchange with someone via text is communicating with “one hand tied behind your back.” Texting is a distance-maker. It reduces the level of human contact. Reducing the level of contact does not foster real conversation. In fact, it sabotages conversation.  

If it is important for someone to tell me something of substance, they can pick up the phone, meet in person, or face to face, online. If they don’t want to do any of these, then whatever was on their mind was not that important in the first place.

Responding to “evil f**cks”

Fending off the temptation to eviscerate the behavior of a no-conscience narcissist adult who inflicts nastiness and cruelty on others is no easy task. It is likely the person is trapped in the merciless web of a personality disorder. Mental illness is no easy challenge for anyone to meet, particularly if they do not realize they are not well. If a narcissistic streak is present, the chance they will ever recognize how unwell they are is fairly close to nil.

The temptation to strike back, to verbally eviscerate the emotional assailant is real, and not easy to manage. This is particularly true when you’ve offered an act of kindness to someone only to get a response that can best be described as a kind of rabid nastiness. That their response reflects the absence of a conscience is par for the course, and, in a way, is almost beside the point. I say almost, rather than entirely, because no one, and I mean, no one, deserves to endure one iota of no-conscience cruelty. 

The best response of all is to disengage from the individual, completely. Not doing so is tantamount to staying linked to an active alcoholic or addict under the misguided but heartfelt belief that there is something you can do or say that will heal things. There isn’t. I promise you. Unless and until the individual who is not well registers this truth, they will reach the end of their life controlled by their unhealthiness. A reality that is both tragic, and heartbreaking sad.

Disengaging is not easy. That said, please remember something. Taking care of yourself is not an act of disloyalty to anyone else. Promise.