My daughter’s friend—I’ll call her Amanda—never wears a mask anywhere. When the clerk standing outside our local grocery store distributing free masks and hand sanitizer asks if she’d like a mask, Amanda smiles and says “No, thank you.” If he asks, “Are you sure?” she nods and says, “I don’t have to wear a mask. I suffer from CS.”
The clerk then says, “I’m
sorry,” and waves her inside the store.
CS carries a dire tone,
sounding like some congenital ailment of the lungs or heart, or some affliction
derived from asbestos or smoking.
For Amanda, CS stands for
I laughed when I heard this
story, but then got to thinking: Why is it I have so detested masks ever since
the first day the governor mandated them here in Virginia? If masks protect
others, shouldn’t I be happy to cover my nose and mouth? When I’m in my Honda
Civic, I practice defensive driving; I don’t tailgate, I double check my
rearview mirror before changing lanes, and if another driver behaves rudely or
foolishly, I try to keep my cool.
So why am I having such
difficulty showing people similar courtesies when it comes to wearing a mask?
My reasons, from least to
most important, are the following:
Comfort. The masks I wear irritate my cheeks and
chin and also stifle my breathing. After spending just 15 minutes masked in the
grocery store I begin feeling like a caged animal as I pull and tug at the
corners, seeking air and relief from discomfort.
Glasses. Wearing a mask fogs up my glasses, in
turn demonstrating that the mask is not working, my breath is escaping around
This time last year, and
for three years before that, I visited our public library several times a week,
where I would browse the books before settling down to a couple hours of
writing. The library offered seating galore, including a vestibule with five tables
where I could eat lunch and sip my coffee while working.
Masks have put an end to
those prolonged stays. The library staff is strict about this mask business,
they even removed the tables from the vestibule because some patrons were
removing their masks to talk with friends. Besides, typing with befogged
glasses is a misery I’ve decided to avoid. Today I go to the library to find a
particular book or two, then I check out and go home.
and scientists have argued about whether masks even work. The thousands who
signed the Great
Barrington Declaration, including prominent epidemiologists, argue
against lockdowns and for herd immunity instead, encouraging the healthy and
the young to resume their normal lives.
Those who are not vulnerable should
immediately be allowed to resume life as normal. Simple hygiene measures, such
as hand washing and staying home when sick should be practiced by everyone to
reduce the herd immunity threshold. Schools and universities should be open for
in-person teaching. Extracurricular activities, such as sports, should be
Young low-risk adults
should work normally, rather than from home. Restaurants and other businesses
should open. Arts, music, sport and other cultural activities should resume.”
Though the signers make no
mention of masks, we can assume by their use of “normally” that they are not
Dehumanization. Masks reduce our ability to read the
thoughts and emotions of others. They hide a part of our personality and our
The attack on individual
issuing edicts rather than guidelines, governors are treating their
constituents like children. Because so many of us fear COVID-19, in part thanks
to the constant drumbeat from mainstream media, we have let them get away with
this ploy. How is it that any governor has the power to issue such directives
for such an extended period of time?
The attack on liberty
and the advent of totalitarian directives. The Biden team has already promised a
nationwide mandate on mask wearing and possibly severe lockdowns on businesses
and schools. After eight months and counting of this pandemic, some of our
governors and mayors have conditioned us to obedience, so odds are many Americans
will comply with a new batch of edicts.
Which brings some
questions: Suppose in an effort to control global warming our federal
government ordered gas rationing, with thermostats lowered in all public places
during the winter and raised in the summer? Suppose the government laid down a
moratorium on travel, ostensibly in the interest of saving fuel? Suppose a
COVID-19 vaccine was developed, as seems to have finally happened, and our
rulers ordered everyone to take that vaccine, punishing those who refused via a
facsimile of China’s social credit system, limiting nonconformists’ ability to
travel, serve in the armed forces, or attend certain schools?
What would we do then?
Maybe it’s time we all
developed a good case of CS.
Jeff Minick lives in Front Royal,
Virginia, and may be found online at jeffminick.com. He is the author of two
novels, Amanda Bell and Dust on Their Wings, and
two works of non-fiction, Learning as I Go and Movies
Make the Man.