SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska
Column - Commentary

Still masking after all these years?  


June 02, 2022

Ketchikan, Alaska -
A while back I wondered if I would miss the masks that i have been wearing at work and elsewhere for most of the past couple of years.


The answer is yes.

For one thing, now I have to go back to shaving every morning. That's an extra five minutes out of my day that I won't get back - at least until I retire. Which is just about 500 days away, but who is counting?

When you think about it, shaving every morning is truly pushing your luck.

For example, you're tired.

If - like me - you are NOT bright eyed and bushy tailed at 6 am, shaving can lead to serious problems. Few places bleed as much as the face when punctured.

When I was a kid, I used to occasionally see grown guys wandering around with little bits of toilet paper stuck to their faces. Somehow that was considered less embarrassing than bleeding to death because they tried to get one last swipe out of a dull blade.

There were also these odd little items called "styptic pencils." People used to use those to "stop" facial bleeding after getting a "nick or a cut." They didn't seem to work because you still saw people with the tiny blood-soaked pieces of toilet paper hanging on their jowls.

I never understood why they were called pencils.

You couldn't write with them.

Heck, you couldn't even chew on them.

 And they had no erasers.

 No one ever asked for a "Number 2 Ticonderoga Stypic Pencil."

 Go figure.

But I digress.

So, no more masks means much more shaving. Which is not a good thing. I hate squinting into the shower fogged mirror every morning. I hate having to fiddle around with razor-sharp blades when i am barely awake enough to be upright. I hate having to do something that I probably wouldn't do otherwise, at least not nearly as often.

Recently I was off work for a couple of weeks. I think I shaved twice. The. World. Did. Not. Come. To. An. End.

Anyway, with a mask, it didn't matter if you had a "five o'clock shadow" at 8 am.

Masks also - over the last couple of years - helped me with my driving.

No, I did not wear them over my eyes. Although more than a few times masks got caught on my sunglasses or caterwhompas on my ears and did block my vision just a hair. They also caught caught in my hair as well. I never quite developed the important skills of donning my mask with one hand while steering with the other.

But that's not what I meant by masks being "helpful" with driving.

I have always been a vocal driver. I like to take note of other folks driving habits and I like to comment on them. Fortunately, Ketchikan drivers are such that there are always plenty of driving habits worth commenting on. We don't use turn signals. We never stop at stop signs. Heckfire, we even consider the lanes themselves as "suggestions."

This, of course, we explain away because of the weather or the potholes or even the deer (but not antelope) roaming about. It couldn't be because we are "distracted" drivers, could it?

Once upon a time, a large percentage of Ketchikan drivers were distracted by "demon rum." That number seems to have dropped some, but now we are distracted by eating, putting on makeup or texting. When your eyes are on the cell phone in your lap, they are not on the road. Good thing the yellow line is only a "suggestion," eh wot?

Personally, I am more distracted by the bad habits of other drivers (see above).

And I feel it is my responsibility to comment on said bad habits.

People driving too slow. People driving in a big hurry. People blocking traffic trying to turn left. People leaving their doors open halfway into the driving lane. People not using turn signals. People using their turn signals for several blocks. People stopping to let wanderers cross in the middle of the road. People not stopping to let wanderers cross. And all that is usually within a block or so of my house.

What does this have to do with masks?

Well, for the past couple of years, I have been able to "cuss" out all the other drivers and no one has known because I have been wearing my mask. Ya'll can't lip read with a face diaper on.

I know that some people thought it was odd that I was wearing a mask while driving because I was the only person in the car and - not likely - able to catch COVID from myself.

But I was just exercising my First Amendment Right of Intemperate Speech.

Now, I will have to dial it back a bit. Because you will be able to see my lips move again.

And you may not like what you see.

Which is why masks are a good thing!


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Dave Kiffer is a freelance writer living in Ketchikan, Alaska.

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