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OPINION: If they didn't want you to follow them, why did they tape big ones to the floor?

opinionlogo Rob

There are definitely times to take life advice with a grain of salt, or to think twice about the person who is giving that advice.

For years when I was in my teens, for example, I let MC Hammer limit things I couldn't touch. It was a long list. REO Speedwagon forced several of my teenage girlfriend breakups, as well as my connections to at least one friend of friend who knew another. And Rick Astley is the main reason I had such a tough time giving up smoking.

But as I got older, I grew wiser. I listened to others, and I learned to make decisions for myself without basing them on what is hip or popular, or choreographed in bright-coloured parachute pants.

As people of the world are dying by the thousands each day from contracting a respiratory disease passed along by human contact, medical experts and scientists are telling us to take precautions to reduce that contact and that risk of death —  and that is advice I'll take.

Stay at home, don't go out if you're ill, avoid getting too close to others, wash your hands . . . the precautions issued by health professionals are there for a reason. To those who think they don't have to worry or abide by the precautions because it hasn't hit them yet? Why do you think they call them pre-cautions and not after-cautions? Listen to the professionals.

COVID-19 news stories and information flood all media around the globe, online news, television shows, commercials, outdoor signage — it's impossible not to know about the pandemic. Advice about keeping safe surrounds us at every turn.

Locally, the grocery stores are part of the mass communication of those precautions. Customer occupancy limits, single-direction aisles and large signs around the stores — even on the floor — explaining the importance of social distancing are impossible to ignore, right? Well, impossible as it may sound, people are still ignoring the signs — quite literally in the case of the woman rolling her shopping cart over the giant red arrow on the floor that is pointing back toward her, or the red-nosed, sniffling man in the produce section picking up, putting down, picking up and putting down oranges, apparently looking for just the right three to put into his grocery bag for the vitamin C boost he needs to kick "the sniffles."

Who are these people listening to? Or why aren't they listening to the experts?

I think I have the answer, and like this column's opening, it's based on the very same teenage toils I went through.

Maybe directionally-challenged woman is living with the "Armstrong principle," seeing red roses and skies of blue in her own Wonderful World. With expert opinion and scientific fact all around her and others like her — especially from senior health officials and scientists like Alberta's own Deena Hinshaw — maybe the 'expert overload' has just blinded her with science.