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Inspired by the bravery of the now-infamous Toronto woman who refused to wear a mask in hospital while seeking treatment for a suspected broken finger (You slay queen! But, uh, figuratively, of course), I would like to bring attention to another inconvenience that has similarly sacrificed individual freedoms at the altar of “public good.”

I am, frankly, fed-up with so-called experts telling me that I cannot drive on the highway with my eyes closed. It’s enough. Freedom should not be conditional on the fickle opinions of city planners, or occupational health and safety specialists, or my auto-insurance provider. It should be my right, as a free citizen, to close my eyes and daydream about picking up food from that taco place by my house as I merge into traffic on the 400-series highways. If you tasted their refried beans, I’m sure you would understand what I’m saying.

All of these people I see driving with their eyes open nowadays are but mere sheep, flocking mindlessly to the latest popular, virtue-signalling gesture. Or else they’re pitiful weaklings, living in a chronic state of fear about the world and the traffic around them. Who could live like that?

Anyway, the efficacy of vision-involved driving is still very much a matter of debate, or so I read in a message posted in my #FreedomFromTyranny WhatsApp group last night. In fact, opening your eyes while driving can actually negatively impact your health: You risk corneal sun damage, severe tiredness and the penetration of 5G waves into your optic nerves. I learned all about this from the graffiti covering the abandoned gas station in my neighbourhood, and let me tell you, the evidence here is truly astounding.

Indeed, just as mask-wearers imbibe on their own exhaled carbon dioxide (in fact, that’s why doctors have such bad handwriting – their brains are oxygen-deprived), open-eyed drivers risk irreparable harm to their own bodies. And for what? Just because there is a possibility (key word) that driving with your eyes closed might get someone killed? Well, I need unequivocal proof – absolute certainty – that the inconvenience of keeping my eyes open will save a life. Otherwise, I will continue doing what I’m doing, thank you very much.

Besides: I feel fine, I know the route by memory, and I have great reflexes should something go wrong. I’m confident I could react quickly if I felt myself drifting into oncoming traffic or rolling over the neighbourhood cat again. I am not worried, and therefore, no one else should be worried either.

But if area busybodies really are concerned about my closed-eye drives, there’s nothing stopping them from independently taking measures to protect themselves while I’m on the road. They can, for example, decide to never get on the road themselves, or not walk on sidewalks or streets anywhere and/or erect concrete barriers to protect their homes from my invading vehicle. It is their prerogative whether they choose to pursue any or all of these measures; that really is none of my business, just as my business ought to be of no concern to them.

Ultimately, Canadians who believe in fundamental rights and freedoms should agree that it is my right to do what I want in the privacy of my own vehicle, just as it is your right to decide what you put on your face as you demand service from private businesses or medical attention from people treating other sick and vulnerable patients. We must teach the next generation that they cannot just blindly accept what state actors tell them. Instead, they must blindly accept what they learn from Facebook memes and obscure blog posts. There is no in-between.

The bottom line is that if God didn’t want me to drive with my eyes closed, he wouldn’t have made chewable Benadryl so delicious. And so, I am comforted in knowing that getting behind the wheel and catching a few Zs is both morally correct and democratically protected. Indeed, the state should not be able to dictate what I do with my eyelids. My body, my choice.

And rest assured, should any of you out there attempt to interfere, I will not hesitate to whip out my phone to document your attempted oppression. Granted, I will first have to unlatch my neighbour’s crushed mailbox from my muffler, then tweeze the shards of glass out of my forehead, then confer with my lawyer about the seven vehicles I hit on the way home. But then, hoo boy, I will lay it on you. Asking me to keep my eyes open is simply too great an inconvenience to tolerate. And soon – mostly when this concussion heals – I will be ready to really fight about it.

Highlights from a live Q&A with The Globe's health columnist André Picard, where he answers questions on masks, protesting in the age of COVID-19, long term care homes, coronavirus antibodies and adapting to a future where COVID-19 remains in our society.

The Globe and Mail

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