Of present-day “Anericans” who are officious, insufferable, priggish assholes, that is.
I get it. No one wants to wear a mask. They muffle your voice. They itch your cheeks. They fog up your glasses. And, until recently, all the experts said they were ineffective against the coronavirus. But now the script is flipped, and it’s the virtuous thing to do. If you don’t, well, you’ll likely face the censure of your peers.
And that judgment is harsh. In the early days of maskopolis, my wife and I went to Safeway with our faces uncovered. Shameful, I know, but our connect in Hong Kong hadn’t yet hooked us up with a box of those blue bad boys.
As we strolled down an aisle — not noticing the arrows indicating that we were walking the wrong direction on a one-way path — our eyes met with those of a tall masked man, who was gingerly picking out cans with his surgical-gloved hands. He looked at us sternly, and pointed to the mask on his face and then to the arrows on the floor. A silent reproach.
And effective. Although it seemed incredibly rude at the time, the eyes of this latter-day Dr. T. J. Eckleburg stuck with us. We wear masks now, and pity those who are as foolish as we once were.
Effective, my fed-up ass. Shoulda punched the jerk right square in the mouth and left him layin’, sez I. “Effective”? Only insofar as it’s allowed to be, and not one jot or tittle more. The proper way to deal with any finger-wagging, self-righteous bluenose remains the same as it always was: get up in their faces, punch back twice as hard. A meek shrug of the shoulders and a firm tug on the ol’ forelock in humble deference only encourages the juiceless bastards. Then, next thing you know, they’re shuttering your business, yelling at you from Chinese-made drones, scolding you from billboards, and locking you in your damned house.
Mask-wearing, while certainly a health-conscious practice, is also a performance for the benefit of your neighbors. Those who play their parts poorly will be booed.
It is a grim show to be sure, put on in my neighborhood by a bunch of noseless, mouthless suburbanites imposing rules and regulations on their unexpectedly leisure-filled existences. But it is one in which we have all been given roles.
For most of us, it could be worse. On the front lines of this thing, there’s no chance to worry about whether or not to wear masks. Medical workers don’t have the time. My two brothers, one a pizza delivery man and the other a barista at Starbucks, don’t have a choice.
And yet, when no one else is around, I know they are just like me. Down goes the mask, and they breathe easier. For a little while.
This whole mess is nothing but a performance, really, Safety Theater for the boobs, the sheep, and the panic-ninnies. Speaking strictly for myself, I will NOT be donning any mask, unless I’m suddenly and inexplicably called upon to help remove a spleen or sew up a wound or something. I simply ain’t doing it, and I don’t give a shit if saying so hairlips every cannibal on the Congo, either. The performance will just have to stagger on without me somehow.
This ain’t Red China, people—not quite yet it ain’t, although it’s now one hell of a lot closer than I’d prefer. On these shores, the air is by no means so polluted as to require mask-wearing outdoors as a matter of simple survival. So I’ll just say it: I don’t care which government official demands that I do so, it just ain’t happening, bub. Might as well lock me up now, cocksuckers. I didn’t manage to make it to this ripe old age only to start knuckling under to every dimestore dictator currently crawling out from under every rock on the landscape now.