Zooming Out

Things That a Mask is Not

by Jean Cambareri
art by Belle McDonald

Art by Belle McDonald

The coronavirus pandemic, however terrible it has been, has given many a chance to slow down, learn new skills, dive deeper into hobbies – you know, get creative. They do say that Shakespeare or one of those other old white geezers was the most productive and creative under quarantine.

But Shakespeare didn’t have TikTok to distract him so, yes, he wrote a couple hundred depressing plays. What the hell else was he supposed to do – watch paint dry?

Anyway… I digress. The point is that a lot of people have gotten creative while social distancing. But for most, unfortunately, it’s not quite in the way that old Willy S. did back in the day. The problem, in my humble opinion, is that the majority of this newfound creativity is not directed toward writing the newest, most brilliant screenplay, or painting the next Mona Lisa. Instead, it is directed toward finding the most extravagantly inventive ways to almost follow CDC guidelines, but not quite. To nearly prevent the coronavirus from spreading, but just miss the mark. 

Take the “socially distanced” outdoor dinner party for example. Great in theory, sure, but everyone knows that once Uncle Kenny has that fourth martini pulsing through his veins, he’s gonna forget all about that whole six-foot rule.

Or how about the whole ride in a cramped car together, but crack a window so that you’re not “breathing the same air” tactic. Honestly, I think we can all admit the logic is just shaky on this one, even if carpooling does make things easier. 

But my personal favorite outlet for creativity during the pandemic: people using masks in the most outrageously, inventively, wrong ways. 

So, for shits and gigs, here’s a list of everything that a mask is not, since it’s pretty clear that some of you need a quick refresher:

A face mask is not a:

  • Chinstrap (unless you are breathing from your chin, this is not gonna cut it)
  • Drool drain 
  • Large cotton earring (could be fashionable if it wasn’t putting others at risk)
  • Strangely ineffective glove 
  • Eye-mask
  • Dishrag 
  • Tiny little disposable hat (the fact that I’ve actually seen this makes me want to scream)
  • Fishnet (I’m looking at you, Lana)
  • Little blue frame for your nose (no seriously, if you cut a hole in your mask “to breathe”, I’m calling your doctor)
  • Knee pad (I know you learned to roller skate during quarantine, but I’m betting you can splurge for the amazon knee pads)
  • Slingshot (fun, but no)
  • Comforter for your pet iguana 

A face mask is: 

  • A protective tool when fully covering the nose and mouth.

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