Tagged: masks

A Breakup, Unmasked

We first met in the spring of 2020, albeit reluctantly. It was more of an arranged coupling. I was quite happy in my current situation but fate mandated our star-crossed relationship. Oh, I suppose we all experience initial errors and false starts when considering what would turn out to be almost constant contact, but I chalk this up to aiming way too low, ratcheting up my vulnerability to levels dangerously high.

Here I was, perfectly healthy with a firm intention to stay that way. Then the “relationship” came into my life at the command of the government. First it was quarantine to stave off an incidious virus, then, in order to take baby steps in public my first face partner was forced on me. It was paper, temporary, barely functional but what can I say, it wasn’t as if there were many choices at first.

I slapped it over my nose and mouth and gamely ventured to the grocery store for a few vital necessities: bread, milk, Oreos, and craft beer. We didn’t get along from the get go. Scratchy, stiff, utterly inflexible—the quick breakup was a relief, but I needed to quickly find a new partner or be sentenced to house arrest.

And then, ah…as if created out of thin air I was presented with a vision of soft, black-lined cloth with a forgiving elastic strap. As I placed it upon my face we were in instant simpatico. I hadn’t felt such comfort and ease since overdosing on Dulcolax during a lost weekend in Inkster, Michigan.

Oh, we had our little spats from time to time. There was the instance where I foolishly decided to enter an overcrowded Cabela’s a week before deer hunting season. My facial protector scowled at my indiscretion scolding me saying, “you KNOW I’m no N95. Why put me in a position of almost certain failure?”

In my guilt I turned tail, made my way around the displays of dead, stuffed wildlife and emerged into an almost deadlier environment—the massive parking lot populated almost exclusively by diesel-powered heavy duty pickup trucks spewing black clouds of lethal dreck. There would be hell to pay when we got home, including a thorough laundering.

Still, we hung together for almost exactly three years through super spreader environments that included malls, air travel, occasional visits to the office and the in-laws. My protector was impervious to it all and I suffered not even a slight runny nose all that time.

But then, just in the past few weeks, I felt a distance—between my mouth, nose and my material significant other. Gaps had formed. It wasn’t the same. I felt vulnerable. It felt loose. Then one night I awoke with a scratchy throat, runny nose and an unexplainable anticipation of the next episode of “Call Me Kat.” Something was wrong.

My family urged me to take a test. I did. I failed. I instantly moved into a spare room isolating me from those I loved and others who were willing to let me win Uno. I called my doctor. A strong prescription was ordered followed by a question only an experienced, training healthcare professional could conjure: did your mask fail you?”

I caught my breath, thought of the good times we had over the past three years, our initial adjustment period but ultimate comfort level between us and then admitted, “yes doc, I believe it to be so.”

The callous bastard ordered me to immediately toss it in a can and replace it with another that would offer sufficient protection for the long haul.

Tough love, he called it. I slowly removed it from my face, said my goodbyes, thanked it for its service. We parted as friends, but not before it landed one last shot.

“You just had to lower me in that crowded Costco to taste that free guac sample…and I get the blame. You’re all the same. No self-control…it’s a damn pandemic.”

Still Masked and Still Alive

Yeah, I’m still wearing my mask. So is the rest of my family. We’ve had our shots, we wash our hands, we keep our distance and some of us ingest sensible quantities of alcohol…as an extra precaution, and because we’re thirsty.

We still don’t eat inside restaurants, although we did eat lunch in a mall food court a couple of weeks ago on a weekday when there were maybe a dozen people there. We sat in the furthest corner of the space. Didn’t stay long. Dine and dash. Except we paid. We ate there because the paint we used to freshen our front door stunk and we needed to get out of the house for a bit.

The reasons for our ongoing masking are simple. For one, the notion of herd immunity has given way to heard impunity. Yes, we keep hearing members of a growing ilk refusing to believe the pandemic is actually not over and discard warnings about new variants that may challenge the efficacy of vaccines. Are we paranoid? Not at all. It costs nothing to be a little extra cautious. We’ve gone this long with being infected, masking up a little while longer is not an imposition. Besides, I’m not ready to die. I have like seven books I need to finish before I return them to the library and I don’t wanna leave the fines for my family to settle.

Second, I have a gut feeling people who have not actually received both shots are taking advantage of signs at businesses that say it’s OK to go maskless if you’re fully vaccinated. Why do I have that feeling? Because I’m a reporter and I’m a natural skeptic. I also believe there are a good number of people who have poor reading aptitude and think the signs say anyone without a mask receives a free rutabaga.

Thirdly, as I’ve written previously, I am quite sure many of those not wearing masks never wore one and are of the same idiotic ilk who refuse to be vaccinated. I firmly believe a good many still rally around the Stars and Bars of the Confederacy…an infamous symbol of yet another losing effort.

Finally, I’ve grown accustomed to using masks to both hide the bottom of my face and store a couple of Tic Tacs. The mask also makes me feel a little like a bandit and whose day wouldn’t feel a little better prancing around like a “bad boy” in the produce aisle.

How much longer will we continue to wear our masks? Not really sure. Maybe we’ll never stop. Since starting to wear them last year none of us have been sick or even had a sniffle. I’ve forgotten what it feels like to blow my honker in a Kleenex or end useless conversations by complaining of a sore throat. Nowadays I only cough to dislodge a cashew that wandered down the wrong pipe. It is fun when the nut is expelled and lands in my mask…so it can make another attempt at proper ingestion.

Now I’m not one to preach, so please don’t take this as my pitch to get you to keep wearing a mask if you feel secure enough to ditch it. Wearing a mask is a private and personal decision. All I know is I have a face-to-face meeting shortly…and I know just where to quickly find a Tic Tac.

Masking in the Spotlight

facemaskmontage2Got a mask? A lot of people do and that’s a good thing. It’s all about being safe. Who wants to breathe in someone else’s viral voom?

I like these two kids in love using their masks like kissin’ condoms. No tongue, no problem. That’s real social distancing.safemasking

I thought I was ahead of the game when I found a couple of old face masks in my garage that I use when I’m spray painting something or the pollen gets to me when I mow my lawn. But I quickly discovered a boring white, pre-made mask is almost a fashion faux pas during this terrible pandemic.

Stuck at home with so much free time, people are getting creative, using whatever materials they happen to have on hand to stick over their noses and mouths.

EdMaskMy wife, being a master crafter, quickly created this one for me out of one of my old, discarded dress shirts. Despite being semi-retired for almost four years, I can still smell the stench of corporate meeting rooms on the material and, while wearing the mask, often have hallucinations of being trapped in an endless Power Point presentation.

I call the mask this guy is wearing “The Shmotah.” That’s Yiddish for rag and that’s pretty much what this gentleman has decided will do the trick for him. Personally, it looks more like something you’d use to chloroform someone attempting to steal the toilet paper from your shopping cart.shmotamask

Which brings me to a masked marauder I discovered in a supermarket. That shopper decided to emulate Jesse James by affixing a bandana around her nose and mouth. Was she there to stock up on soup and crackers, or awaiting the arrival of the next Wells Fargo stagecoach in order to stick it up? Regardless, I gave her wide berth, and removed my watch.jessejamesrobbingstagecoachmask

lettucemaskI don’t know what this person was thinking by slapping a lettuce leaf over most of her face. If she had done this here in Michigan, the poor thing would have been immediately doused with ranch dressing.

I found this photo of a guy who seems to be protecting himself from coronavirus while also launching a campaign promoting electrolysis for anyone suffering from a new affliction I hear the CDC is calling “Hirsute Blue.”bluefurcolorfulbandanamask

jokermaskThere are some Jokers out there combining prophylaxis with paranoia.

pooohmaskThis little girl found a way to stick out her tongue while keeping it in.

minimousemaskMinnie Mouse doing her part to provide maximum facial cover.

mardigrasmaskOoops…Mardi Gras’s over. No masking this couple’s cluelessness. All they needed to do was look to their left to realize, “we made a boux boux, chere.”

facemaskmontageSo whether your mask is of the pre-fab, store bought variety, a shmotah, bandana, home crafted or creatively improvised, don’t forget to slap it on because right now, the last thing you wanna do…is go viral.