(Both an apology and an acknowledgement to the wonderful Dr. Seuss)

I am Pam. Pam-I-am.

This isn’t about green eggs and ham;

Wearing masks is on my mind

But Joe right there, he just declined.

That Pam-I-am! That Pam-I-am!

I do not like that Pam-I am!

I don’t like masks, I have my rights

And Pam has got me in her sights.

Would you please just wear this mask?

It might save lives, that’s all I ask.

I do not want to wear that thing;

I’ll stay uncovered until next spring.

Would you, could you in a store?

Just put it on as you walk in the door…

I will not wear that lousy mask,

So do not ask me, do not ask!

How about when you’re out to eat?

Cuz you don’t know who you might meet!

Not in the store, not in the diner;

Do I have to explain it to you finer?

I do not like to wear a mask

And I do not like the way you ask!

Could you, would you at the bar?

Or riding in a subway car?

They really help, says Dr. Fouci.

How come this mask thing makes you grouchy?

Not at the store, so ask me no more.

And not when I eat, for the sake of Pete!

And not when I’m drinking or chatting or thinking

Pam, your credibility is sinking.

I do not want to wear a mask!

So do not ask me — do not ask!

What about when you’re out at a party?

When hanging out with Jen or Marty?

Or with some of your cousins, who knows where they’ve been?

If they’re asymptomatic, what happens, what then?

Pam, you don’t get it — just leave me alone;

Stop taking those pictures, please put down that phone!

You’re not going to shame me or blame me to wear it,

A mask on my nose makes me look like a ferret.

I will not wear it here, I will not wear it there.

I will not wear it anywhere.

I do not want to wear a mask,

So do not ask me, do not ask!

Will you wear it on a plane?

Would you wear it on a train?

They might not let you on, you know

If all you say is No, No, No.

Not on a plane, not on a train.

You’re bugging me Pam, you’re being a pain.

I really don’t care what experts might say,

They might be wrong on this anyway…

But masks help stop the spread of the virus;

Celebrities wear them, even Miley Cyrus.

So here is a deal, Joe, a deal of all deals -

If you try on a mask just to see how it feels

And if you decide that it’s not right for you

I’ll leave you alone, I promise. It’s true.

I’ll still think that you should be wearing a mask,

But I’ll stop with my questions — I’ll no longer ask.

All right then, Ms Pam, I like what you offer

Though we both understand that I’m no COVID cougher.

I’ll try on a mask like you’ve asked me to do

And if I don’t like it, with masks I am through!

Say, it doesn’t feel bad and I don’t look too scary

Though it does make me feel like I’m Typhoid Mary.

I suppose in a while I could maybe get used to it;

That virus can kill you and I don’t want to lose to it.

So, yes, Pam, I’ll wear it when I go to the diner,

To the bar, and the store, and I won’t be a whiner.

Although it’s a nuisance (and I’m sure you agree)

But spreading the virus ain’t my cup of tea.

So I’ll wear it and bear it although I despise it.

Mask wearing’s a pain and I will not disguise it.

But I will do my part to help stop the spread -

Inconvenient it is but it beats being dead.

(Image by Intermountain Healthcare)

Mike Hoban is a West Michigan-based leadership coach and advisor who also writes about business topics and reads Dr. Seuss and Golden Books to his 4 little granddaughters. Many of his commentaries — including several about leading during the COVID crisis — can be found on his LinkedIn page: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mike-hoban-b5756b6/ He can also be reached at mjhoban@sbcglobal.net and at mjhoban99@gmail.com.

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