Slightly Off Center

Masking: A survey of the mania

By Dennis Hinkamp

In these uncertain times, one thing we know for sure: People love tacos. The grand convergence of Taco Tuesday and Cinco de Mayo caused a drive- through/pickup gridlock around the state. I heard of wait times of two hours at any food provider with a vaguely Hispanic-sounding name. Our newfound love of takeout food is creating billowing amounts of food packaging trash filling every public receptacle five times faster than normal. Thank you, city workers, for keeping up with the aftermath of our COVID-19 gluttony.

One of the few things that we can be sure of is that we sure aren’t sure about masks. People are getting shamed, ticketed and, at least in one case, shot for their decision. I find myself at odds with my own contrarian nature wanting to comply with the Utah governor’s strong suggestion to wear them.

Crafty people are joyfully sewing away with new designs of these face bikinis. On alternate days I can feel smug for wearing a mask and rebellious for not wearing one. Mainly I feel sad that we are dividing ourselves over this. If COVID-19 is the enemy, it has to be laughing at our confusion.

This is how I see how the mask mania is breaking down.


  1. Don’t tell me what to do: This is deeply ingrained in our American psyche. We are mostly descendents of people who fled other countries because they didn’t like to be told what to do. That was cool when there were just a small collection of east coast colonies, but now that there are 330 million of us, we need a little compliance. Red means stop. Green means go. Yellow means go for it. We also have mostly agreed that daily public nudity is not an acceptable thing. So don’t go into crowds with a nude face.


  1. It is the sign of submission: The segment of the population that is most worrisome are those who are protesting with large weapons, Ameri­­can flags and elbow-to-elbow pro­tests. I know people are quick to jump in with Darwin theory, but most of these people look like they are old enough to have already procreated. I’m just fine with any excuse for not getting a haircut.


  1. It’s a liberal /conservative issue: I shop at both big box stores and politically woke natural food stores and I don’t see any difference in mask use. I actually feel safer in the big box stores because, well, it’s a big box and there is more spacial distancing room. Are the non-mask wearing people in the natural foods stores hoping the products therein will protect them? Are the non-mask wearers at the big box stores hoping the 80-pack of toilet paper is enough to shield them?


  1. Maybe we should have always done this: We have sneeze guards on buffets for the same reason we are now wearing masks. Hospitals have always had high sanitation standards. Food poisoning and the flu have always been bad things. Maybe this will get us to take sanitation more seriously? I doubt it. Forgetting is contagious . u

Dennis Hinkamp thinks there has to be a perfect Father’s Day mask out there.

This article was originally published on June 1, 2020.