To Mask or Not to Mask

Published 3:14 pm Tuesday, May 26, 2020

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Today, I borrow a few words from Mr. Shakespeare’s most famous play, Hamlet. I’ll update them to fit our current times. “To mask, or not to mask, that is the question.”

Many weeks ago, I was “shamed” for not wearing one. Not here in Bainbridge, but in Tallahassee. To set the record straight, I usually wear a mask. I’ve gotten used to it and really don’t mind. I’m not saying I like it, but it’s not the end of the world.

Anyway, I had been in Tallahassee taking my mother to the doctor. I wanted to rush into one of the Publix stores down there for a French baguette. My mask was on the seat, but I forgot it. When I remembered, I was too close to the store to go back, so I thought nothing of going into the store without it.

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I quickly got my item and was on the way out. Coming through the door was an elderly lady with her mask on. I saw her pull it down as she approached me and looked at me with disgust and said, “You’re supposed to wear a mask!” I could have explained that I had simply forgotten it, but walked on by, saying nothing. Sort of like “Let sleeping dogs lie.”

The wearing of masks is one of the most obvious signs that our world has changed. I also think that we’ll have to get used to seeing people in masks for the rest of our lives. There may be times during the year when masks will be worn less, but come winter and flu season, masks will reappear. That’s probably not a bad thing.

Of course, the wearing of a mask has become a political issue. Does everything we do in this nation have to be political? Unfortunately the answer is “Yes.” The 2020 election might come down to whether the two opponents wear masks or not.

President Trump seems to relish his decision not to be seen wearing a mask. To his opponents, that proves he doesn’t care about the nation. On the other hand, his current opponent wears one. Does that mean he would make a better president?  Surely we wouldn’t vote for the most important office in the world based on a mask.

The question as to the effectiveness of masks has been asked. At the beginning of this unprecedented pandemic, the Center for Disease Control said don’t wear them unless you’re sick. Then they said everybody should wear them, sick or not. Which is it?

And what kind of mask? I had one of those old red cowboy bandannas. Remember those? They come in blue, too. In fact, as a boy, I used it as a mask when I played the outlaw. Never could I have imagined that it would be of use in my older years.

All masks have at least two things in common. One is that you cannot recognize people. I see people in the stores that look familiar, but I’m not sure who they are because they have their face covered.

Another thing. If you happen to need glasses to see and use a mask at the same time, expect to get foggy glasses from the hot air that escapes onto the glasses. So, you can’t breathe well from the mask and you can’t see because of the fog! And they say wearing a mask is good?

Still, it’s a free country. So far, no one has said we HAVE to wear a mask. I said, so far. One of these days, we may not have the option, but until then, I’ll just think like the late, great William Shakespeare. “To mask or not to mask, that is the question!”