Do You Hate Masks?

A detail of a woodblock print from the Edo Period (1603-1868) shows a patient at a medical clinic covering his mouth with a piece of cloth.

While getting ready to go out early this morning, I realized with disgust that I had to put on a mask. The disgust told me that I secretly hate masks. They fog my glasses, restrict my breathing, and the ear loops are making my ears stick out like Dumbo. I admitted this to myself, but added that we probably all hate them-at least I wasn’t going to go maskless and spout some libertarian, macho BS about FREEDOM as an excuse.

Two months ago, I was living in a very Trumpy part of Florida. About half the population exercised their “God given right” to go about naked-faced. They ranted about freedom and socialists and pointed out that masks don’t stop Covid particles. Right, they protect OTHER people from your Covid particle sneezes. So the question is: Do you care about anybody besides yourself?

Now I’m living in a Non-Trumpy part of Florida and masks are expected. Anti-pandemic measures are pretty strict. Everybody is sick of Covid; we hate the spiky little bastards, but it’s a war and we’re going to do our part. It’s also expected here that other people do matter-so wear a frigging mask.

You may have noticed that people in Japan wore masks before the pandemic. What’s up with that? Actually, masks have been worn off and on in Japan for over 100 years. Some were so beautiful and expensive, they became status symbols. Status symbols will always be widely imitated; they are the impetus for lawns and high heels, for example. So the Japanese were more accepting of masks from the beginning of Covid. They were even sold there, pre-cooled, from vending machines.

I hate masks, but I’m wearing them. I’ll be very glad when Covid is stomped into a mud puddle. We all will. Masks are uncomfortable and inconvenient but all that naked-face FREEDOM BS is just a ruse to avoid the naked truth: “My comfort and convenience are more important than your health.”

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