Jeff Mullin with cat mask

First of all let me say I hate wearing a mask. Hate it.

They are uncomfortable, they are hot, they are just a massive pain in the sitter.

Leaving the house these days has become a major production. Mask? Check. Gloves? Check. Hand sanitizer? Check. Disinfecting wipes? Check. Pants zipped? Check. There’s just too darn much to remember!

That said, I wear a mask whenever I leave the house and go into any other building or when I am outside and can’t maintain proper social distance from others. It’s simply the safe, considerate thing to do. A facemask might not keep me from getting COVID-19, but if I have it, and don’t know it, it will help prevent me from passing it along to somebody else.

So what is the big deal about wearing masks?

Masks have been turned into political statements. You can’t make me wear a mask, by golly, because that violates my constitutional rights. I have looked through the Constitution, but I must have missed the clause about facemasks. I’ll look again.

Wearing a mask seems such a simple thing to do in the effort to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus that has helped turn 2020 into the year from H,E, double hockey sticks.

People are fighting masks like they used to fight laws requiring seat belts. Seat belts save lives. Masks save lives. Same difference. I still don’t see the problem.

I have decided that wearing pants violates my constitutional rights. I think it comes under the “pursuit of happiness,” clause. Oh, that comes from the Declaration of Independence? Same difference.

Anyway, from this day forth I will no longer be bound by the chains that are my pants. I am declaring pants amnesty. I refuse to be shackled by the belt, or the Sansabelt, for that matter.

No stores or restaurants I know of require customers to wear pants. The signs say, “No shirt, no shoes, no service,” nothing is ever said about wearing pants.

I know there are indecency laws that must be followed, so I will not be running around in half my birthday suit. I will be wearing undies, which are just like a swimsuit, only tighter and whiter.

That’s it. No more pants. Society is not going to be the boss of me.

A quick update. I have been informed by my bride, who is the boss of me, that I will continue wearing pants today, tomorrow and until they put me in the ground, and I will like it. And she called my idea stupid.

Almost as stupid, in fact, as refusing to wear a mask when you are not in your own home and can’t properly maintain social distance from other people.

Some people may object to wearing masks because they think doing so makes them look stupid. I’ve got news for you, everybody looks stupid in a mask. George Clooney would look stupid in a mask. Angelina Jolie would look stupid in a mask.

I look stupid in a mask. Don’t believe me, check out the photo that accompanies this opus. I’ll give you a second to study it carefully. Stupid, right? I rest my case. Actually I think I’ve been in quarantine so long I am starting to resemble my gray tabby cat, though he is much better-looking.

There are actually advantages to wearing masks. Nobody knows what mood you are in, for one thing. They can’t tell whether you are smiling or frowning. You can make goofy faces at people who annoy you, and they’ll never know.

You don’t have to brush your teeth when you wear a mask, though if you don’t you had better pop in a breath mint because mask breath can get pretty nasty.

Wearing a mask could prove a great diet aid. You can neither eat nor drink while wearing a mask, unless you yank it to one side and then if you dribble anything down your chin and put the mask back on it will get wet and soggy. I speak from experience.

The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Robert Redfield, says the U.S. could get the COVID-19 pandemic under control in a month or two if everyone would just wear a mask. Of course, what would he know? He’s just the head of the organization tasked with controlling and preventing disease. It’s not like he’s president or governor or anything.

Heck, masks could become a fashion statement. You could go with solid colors or prints for day wear and shift to black for evening, which you could always set off with a string of pearls — or not, gentlemen, your choice.

You could wear a mask featuring the colors and logo of your favorite team. You could sport a mask featuring your favorite cartoon superhero or Disney character. There are masks featuring pieces of great art, there are patriotic masks and there are masks sporting various sayings.

There are even masks emblazoned with Bible verses. My favorite of those is Isaiah 43:2, “When you go through deep waters I will be with you.”

We are in deep waters, my friends. One way to get out of those deep waters is to wear your mask. Please.

It seems a small sacrifice to make for the greater good.

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Mullin is an award-winning writer and columnist who retired in 2017 after 41 years with the News & Eagle. Email him at janjeff2002@yahoo.com or write him in care of the Enid News & Eagle at PO Box 1192, Enid, OK, 73702.

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