#CovidChronicle 3: Shaving Cream Saves the Day!…Or Does It?

Mẹ and Ba in front of our church on 14th Street

Life in quarantine is still bland as ever but mom and pops keep the levity going. My favorite days are the ones in which I’m holed up in my bedroom/office and I get the opportunity to share some sneaky laughs from something my parents are talking about. On this particular day it was the misery of wearing masks with glasses. Like most other parents, my mom and dad got their news everywhere including the unfiltered realm of the internet. Today’s find was the use of shaving cream on glasses to prevent fogging when you wear a mask. My mom shared this information with my dad who was the only other person aside from me who went out for grocery/supply runs so the only other person who would benefit from a trick like this. Hey as a glasses wearer myself I needed this information too so I listened in keenly. I could glean what my mother was getting at from overhearing the conversation. Some folks on the internet were reporting that cleaning your glasses with shaving cream was helping to prevent mask-fog. No one knew if it worked so my mom asked my dad to try it out. The problem was she said đồ mà để cạo râu which translates to the stuff you use to shave instead of more specifically kem cạo râu which means shaving cream. You can probably guess what happens next.

Needless to say my dad tried out what my mom asked him to do and reported back that it didn’t work. She asked what he did and he replied, “I used the razor on my glasses”. My mom was incredulous and I had to try to laugh as quietly as a could from my room. She then flew into a barrage of questions as to why he would do that and didn’t he think that would damage his glasses. My father, what a guy, simply said he was following her directions. Touché father touché. This was one example where misinformation or rather miscommunication ended benignly for the most part. My dad’s glasses were relatively unscathed and we all got a good laugh at it.

Outside of the sanctuary of my home and the filter that is my parents, misinformation and miscommunication was leaving me tired from the world of the internet. I’m a full believer in seeing multiple sides to a story and forming my opinion after. Perhaps its the peacemaker in me that wants to make all parties feel acknowledged before taking my own stand, but what I can’t stand is the rapid fire misinformation that makes it so easy to distract the public from what’s going on. How often are people reading the articles they are sharing or crossposting? How often are people vetting their sources and looking for corroboration elsewhere? From just a quick scan of my social media accounts every morning I can see that the answer is not many. This is so sad considering my immigrant parents who don’t fully understand the english language spend most of their day vetting their information whether that’s through discussing new morsels of information with me or watching multiple reports from different sources. Perhaps it’s because they know they can’t afford to be wrong or perhaps it’s a lesson they had to learn earlier in life, living under a government they couldn’t trust. The proliferation of misinformation is part of the reason why I refrain from engaging in online dialogue on any of the hot topics (unless it REALLY pushes my buttons). Any attempt at trying to discuss differing viewpoints, sources, or reports leads to a digital shouting match and people drawing arbitrary lines in the digital sand. It leads one to question whether anyone really argues like this in real life and it typically ends in neither party feeling any more satisfied or enlightened.

As a witness to my parents’ oftentimes petty arguments and now largely being a witness of a variety of online arguments I find that what most people are missing is skin in the game or as my non-profit homies have taught me, whether or not someone is coming to breakfast as a chicken or a pig. Let me explain further. As a chicken you would provide eggs for the breakfast so coming to the breakfast table would mean simply having to give up some products that you made. On the other hand if you are coming to the breakfast table as a pig you’re providing the bacon which is literally the skin on your back. Chickens have some things to lose in the argument but pigs have their actual life on the line. So next time you decide to throw your weight around the online boxing ring reflect on whether or not you’re going in as a chicken or a pig. Ask yourself how much do you have to lose in this particular problem or issues area. Too often people are talking from the viewpoint of a witness, someone viewing the atrocities but not necessarily being impacted directly from it. Not to say this position can’t be beneficial to the argument but don’t assume as a chicken that you can speak as a pig. For my parents, they interchange between being the chicken or the pig depending on the nature of the argument. When it comes to this pandemic I think we are all pigs to varying degrees, with some of us having more at risk than others. Being able to recognize that and check your own privilege can help us filter through the slog of playing oppression olympics. I applaud my parents for their clarity of mind through all this and I’m grateful that the biggest miscommunication we have to face is whether shaving cream can save us during these desperate times.

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