I wore a mask for 14 months. Everywhere. The gym, restaurants for takeout, movie theaters that were actually open, and just about anywhere. I hated it, but did so for the sake of my family and many other families. But that really sounds and even rides off like the tongue like a pile of shit. We wear masks to protect ourselves. Our family. Sprinkle a little unapologetic salt on the mantra and the truth comes out.
I just hate the pitiful fact that the appliance of a face covering can turn into such a deafening conversation that divides people. A way to hide our faces has become National water cooler discussion.
Are you wearing one?
If not, why?
If so, why?
If why, so?
By the time I explain to someone why I have a piece of thick thread wrapped around my beard, my head starts to hurt. How many times in your life have you started talking and swear a political commercial just started coming out of your lips? As humans, we speak and rehearse rigorously, even just to win an argument three minutes faster than normal. By design, we’re bullshitters of the highest order!
But it doesn’t have to be overstated that deciding to wear a mask or not isn’t-and should never be-a declaration of war between two people. At the end of every day we get on Earth, choice remains the strongest absolute ever invented. Nobody really wants to wear a mask–even if it invented private hideaways for some who never cared for being seen in public. The last thing I want to do is tell people to put on a mask. It’s the same reason why I couldn’t force my Presidential vote down my following’s throats. It’s the same reason why I didn’t last being a radio host. Most people can sell everything but themselves.
When the announcement came out this week that, due to the new COVID-19 variant, a mask mandate would be returning in St. Louis city and county starting Monday, I wanted to scream at someone. Anyone who didn’t get vaccinated or wasn’t wearing masks, doing everything the television is telling us to do to the tee. For a few minutes, I was livid. Less than three months after losing the mask mandate, we’re back where it all started to get real. Not like it’s a surprise.
Even when hospitals found their infection rate decreasing and people started living again outside their homes, we knew it was almost a certainty that by the end of the year, a few steps back would occur. It’s only human nature. And like so many other faults in our united history, errors were repeated.
Personally, I couldn’t wait to be vaccinated. Every update I saw about vaccine tests and trials, I was more intrigued than when I browsed a Cardinals box score. As soon as they were available and circulating, I wanted to get my two shots and be armed and ready for a virus that has killed over 500,000 people.
It was nice to know my family and the people close to me got their shots, so we could all hug again and not have to wonder if it was safe. Hate on the CDC all you want for changing their words or message-they hadn’t seen something of this magnitude in 100+ years-but if I still take their advice. The last thing we need to do is knock down scientists and doctors. Let them run through walls to find answers on this thing and all its asshat cousins/variants, so we can be ready. I believe in all that. It’s science, tactical and unpredictable at times but documented. As Walter White would tell his protege, “It’s just chemistry, Jesse.”
Fun Fact: I drove to Cape Girardeau for my two shots. While I ironically started getting St. Louis city email offers to get poked, I took advantage of a road trip with the old man. Two of them.
But I didn’t hesitate to get the Pfizer, one of the most preventative vaccines available, shots. I would have gotten them while sitting in traffic, lounging in my home, or in the middle of a bench press.
Here’s an unselfish reason I wanted the vaccines. Going back to the gym without looking like Tony Soprano masquerading as Bane, struggling to breathe properly while pushing the body. Wearing a mask at a crowded sweatshop while picking up heavy stuff and placing it back down was about as fun as going to the dentist right after a trip to Crown Candy Kitchen.
Walking into the gym for the first time without a mask felt surreal–and slightly illegal. I felt like CDC authorities would fall through the ceiling on wires to arrest me and haul me off. No longer would the poor choice in lunch be reflected in my face every single rep. No longer would I see a workout end due to my mask string snapping. (Those blue surgical ones quietly suck.)
Mask-less is my preferred state. I hate wearing a mask. Outside of a cold winter night, I find them to be limiting and exhausting. I didn’t need to know exactly how my breath tasted. Who does?
But, for the sake of my unvaccinated son, I will put one on this coming week if I must. If I can walk into a place without, that’s my course of action. However, if someone requests it, it will be done.
Telling people what to do is not really my line of work. I’m not an influencer. I don’t really need you to see the movies I recommend. I don’t think of my baseball takes as top wisdom. I recommend what I love, criticize what I wish had been better, and am lucky enough to be paid to do it.
So I’m not going to come here and demand you wear a mask. I won’t demand you to get the vaccine. I think you should, but I’m not a doctor. You need my opinion on what should be done in your house about as much as I need a Cubs tattoo. Make your own choice and live with it. This shit is real. It’s apparently not going away.
So, in a great act of resistance againt my immense toughness, I will mask up when the mandate returns. If a booster shot becomes available, I’ll ask for two. If a way to protect myself and my family from this beast of a virus, which carries more lives than a Marvel hero, comes up, please send it my way.
Just remember. People may say they care about a lot of people, even friends and non-family casual pals. But deep down, they care about their immediate family. That’s the truth.
In the words of 6,857 cinematic heroes, I’ll do whatever it takes to protect my own… even wear a mask when I have already done my part. If I sound like a pissed off individual, your calculations are correct.