This time last year, the only people who wore masks were surgeons, bank robbers, people who wanted to add some forbidden fruit to their adult activities and the Lone Ranger. How times have changed! These days, we all have one. (Of course, there are people who don’t, but I’m not going to antagonize those folks: they’re oddly aggressive about it.) Personally, I think there’s a major upside to everybody wearing a mask. Yeah, yeah, yeah! There’s that whole health thing, but in these tribal times (we all seem to belong to an identifiable group!) it’s a cool shorthand to recognize who you’re dealing with. Here are just a few examples.
Not The Nose – These are the people who genuinely want to follow the protocols but haven’t quite figured out that the nostrils are connected to the lungs.
Neck-warmers – Apparently, some people believe that the mere presence of a mask anywhere in the vicinity of the face will stop the virus – sort of like a string of garlic wards off vampires.
The Paper Pusher – These are the folks who bought a package of 10 paper masks at the drugstore back in April, and even though it’s a little dirty and the elastic’s kinda worn out, are still using the first one.
I Have A Message – Sometimes these masks feature innocent stuff like sports logos or brand names, but there are also a bunch of other itty-bitty walking billboards out there with an in-your-face/on-your-face political or social agenda. Okay, folks! I’ll tell you what: right now, I’m trying to navigate my way through this godawful pandemic, but the minute I do, I promise I’ll “Make America Great Again,” “Save The Whales,” “Defund The Police,” “Stop Climate Change” and “Free Ed Snowden.” I will! Really!
The Virtue Signaller – These are the people whose mask was woven by Syrian refugees using a traditional Bedouin loom. It’s made of sustainable wool from a free-range desert flock and features an ancient geometric folk pattern. The problem is despite its morally superior lineage, it looks just like every other mask. This forces the wearer to annoy everybody with a detailed explanation of the who, what, where and why of the damn thing. (Thank God for social distancing!)
The D.I.Y. Guy – This fellow made his own mask in his workshop out of a reclaimed wooden pallet. It took him three weeks — evenings and weekends — and didn’t cost a cent if you discount the 22 thousand dollar investment in power tools. It has a beautiful, high-gloss butterfly burl wood finish, weighs 2 kilos (5 pounds) is utterly useless and looks like Bane (from Batman) has a younger brother.
The D.I.Y. Girls – The younger ones made their own masks out of spare pieces of fabric they had left over from their on-line multi-media art workshop. They’re put together with bits of twine from an old macramé hanging basket and there are other individually handcrafted ones (including child sizes) available on Etsy. The older ones made theirs out of a used milk jug and the plastic rings from a soda pop six-pack. They were cut out with an Exacto knife, hot-glued together and decorated with spray-painted macaroni. There’s a How-to video available on YouTube — if you’re so inclined.
I’m a Patriot – These are the flag guys — and they’re mostly guys — mostly American and mostly a pain in the ass.
I’m Rich – These are the people who wear the Burberry tartan, the Louis Vuitton fabric or a discreet YSL logo on their cheek. Nothing says “I’ve got more money than you” than paying $150.00 for a 5-by-10 piece of cloth and an elastic band — when you can get the same thing on Amazon for 12 bucks.
I’m Really A Funny Person – These masks are the facial equivalent of the Dad joke. They have such hilarious features as buck teeth, a handlebar moustache, fangs, cigars and wandering tongues. Like the toilet paper jokes, these things were slightly cute last summer, but here in the winter of our discontent, they’re just annoying.
I’m a Badass – These are the guys who found an old bandana in their underwear drawer and thought (despite tons of evidence to the contrary) they should show the world just how kick-ass cool they still are by wearing it instead of a mask. Unfortunately, there’s nothing quite as sad as seeing an aging Easy Rider climbing into a minivan at the Mall.
Pure Sex – These are those hyper-female women who’ve decided masks are actually lingerie. Hey, ladies! Unlike man-catcher underwear, lace is not that effective in this situation.