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Column: Need some nice reasons for a mask? Here are 5

Column: Need some nice reasons for a mask? Here are 5

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It looks as if there is no way the pandemic is going to just vanish anytime soon, so I have five really good, awesome, very nice, patriotic reasons to wear a face mask when in public.

Well, maybe not actually patriotic, but they’re still good.

Reason 1: There is absolutely no doubt face masks help stop the spread of Covid-19.

Research shows a cheap mask cuts down the sneeze-factor exchange. A sneeze or even a cough can propel droplets 10 feet or more.

A multi-layer cloth mask can reduce the spray to less than three inches. Thus, a mask and social distancing are very important in the effort to put the brakes on this virulent virus that has caused so much fear and pain.

Reason 2: Fellers, if you don’t feel like shaving when you go out in public, don’t worry about it.

A mask lessens the need for grooming. And you ladies who wear makeup won’t have to be concerned if you just don’t want to be bothered.

Reason 3: If you inadvertently missed that bit of food stuck in your teeth, your mouth is hidden.

Reason 4: Nose-pickers are much less likely to dig in if they’re wearing a mask.

If you don’t pick your nose, masks help keep gnats off your face.

And finally, Reason 5: If you forget your teeth, nobody will know.

That is, unless you engage in extended (but socially distanced) conversation.

Back when I was a few decades younger, I went to a particular fast-foot joint from time to time. It was a popular spot for a few years, with a paved parking lot. Overflow parking was in an adjacent gravel lot. That’s where people – mostly young people – congregated.

One evening, a group of us guys had to park at the far end of the gravel lot. As we hoofed it toward the restaurant, we noticed this incredibly beautiful car. It was heavily customized. You couldn’t get a paint job on a car like that from the factory. The finish was obviously hand-rubbed and probably had more than one coat.

The hood was up, revealing chrome work that shined like new money.

We started to pause to admire the car, but the guy leaning on the driver-side door advanced a couple of steps and – with fists balled up – said “What the (expletive deleted) are you lookin’ at?” He was plumb surly.

There is no right answer in a situation like that, so we just kept walking.

Later, as we moseyed back to our car, the guy was still glaring at everybody who passed his car and still running his mouth.

People who defy recommendations and store-front signs about face masks – and then get mad when told they have to wear a mask inside the store – remind me of the guy with the custom car. You wonder what planet they live on (please pardon the terminal preposition).

These people are greedy, selfish and uncaring. They would find ways to be obstinate and confrontational about other things if we didn’t have a killer pandemic. Declarations that masks violate their rights are without substance.

There is no right answer or response to such people. They seem to want us to be afraid of them, as if we don’t have enough concerns these days. They simply don’t mix – and never will – in polite society.

And by the way, why do we call these coverings “face masks?” Where else are we going to wear a mask?

Coverings on the tops of our heads are hats. Even though, on occasion, we wear as little clothing as possible (like at the beach), we don’t call our coverings masks. Some beachwear covers the rear-end little better than a face mask. Each of us may decide for ourselves if that’s a good thing – or not.

We have body suits for some activities, but I don’t remember them being called masks. I never hear anyone say “Where do I put this mask?” when they get out of the car in a parking lot.

The Lone Ranger and Zorro wore masks, but the word “face” was never used to describe their disguises.

The one thing I don’t like about a mask is that smiles are harder to share. I notice more people nodding and waving these days.

I rarely venture abroad. But after a pleasant exchange with a store clerk and heading toward the door, I’m still waiting to hear somebody exclaim, “Who was that masked man?”

It’ll probably never happen. Besides, what’s anybody supposed to say? They don’t know. I got my face covered up.

Reach Larry Clark at

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