COVID Counterpunch

Adventures in Defiance: Mask Mandate Madness

Mask burning protest, Boise, ID (March 2021)

Well, we did our part. We defied the governor.

We went to Costco, Cavender’s, and Backstreet Grill this weekend, and we walked, shopped and ate all in the comfort of our happy bare faces.

For the record it should be stated that there are no laws requiring people to wear masks. The federal government hasn’t even attempted such a law. The governor for her part has “mandated” it, which is a bit like my four-year-old demanding that I buy her a unicorn. A purple one. With a sparkly saddle. 

They can’t arrest you for defying the governor’s mandate, because in the absence of an actual law explaining the consequences of violating it, it’s unenforceable.

Cavender’s was cool because nobody cared. Some people wore masks. Some didn’t. It smelled like freedom inside. 

Nobody side-eyed anybody else, there were no guffaws from sweaty AWFLs or shrieking accusations of being a “grandma-killer!” from poisonous pink-haired Feminists, because AWFLs and Feminazis don’t shop at Cavender’s. 

They do, apparently, shop at Costco.

We were told by four different employees that masks are required, and we were polite and appreciative of the information every time they gave it. The first enforcer, at the front door, was young, mid-20s, skinny and timid. He advised us of the mask mandate and we thanked him, smiled, and continued walking, the way you do when the solar panel guy asks if you want a free estimate.

The next employee, at the milk cooler, was mid-60s and pissy. 

“You have to wear a mask,” he demanded.

“Thank you, we’re exempted,” I said.

“Your whole family?” 

“My whole family, yes.”

He jerked at his little earpiece and reported us to management as we filled our cart with milk and eggs (the 60-pack, because slonking is life).

The third employee, in the toilet paper aisle (they’re out, for the record) was young and polite but forceful. “You have to wear a mask to shop here.”

“We’re exempt,” I said.

“Oh. Um. Medical?”

“No, religious.”

He did not ask what my religion was, nor can he, lest I ask if I will be discriminated against and refused service based on our religious beliefs. They have been trained well.

“Ok, but our policy is if you don’t wear a mask, you have to wear a face shield, for the protection of our staff.”

“You’re wearing a mask,” I pointed out.

“Yes I am, that’s our policy.”

“If you’re wearing a mask aren’t you protected?”

He paused and I’m 99% sure he was grinning under his muzzle.

“Sir, it’s just the policy.”

I winked and smiled. “I understand.”

“If you’ll just wait right here, I’ll get you some face shields,” he said.

“Thank you,” I said, and then I continued shopping — because just as there is no law requiring muzzles, there is no law requiring that you wait where a Costco employee tells you to wait.

The final boss finally arrived. He was tall, overweight, and bald. And he was angry.

“You have to wear these,” he said, shoving a stack of plastic sheets and glasses frames at me.

“Ok, thank you,” I said. I took the shields and walked away.

We fumbled with the unassembled face shield parts, went to self-checkout, checked out, and left. Unmasked, unshielded.

In more friendly circumstances, I’d have informed the dedicated men of Costco that the CDC does not recommend the use of face shields, as their “effectiveness is unknown,” according to their website. Face shields may be worn in addition to masks, but they should not replace them.

I’d also have explained the science behind this, how COVID-19 spreads via aerosol transmission, making masks in general futile considering that even N95s are designed to filter particles three times the size of the COVID-19 virus.

If we were having beers in the backyard, I’d have pointed out how this charade of political theater isn’t actually making anyone safer, and they would nod in agreement, because half the people in the store wore their masks under their chins, mouths and noses exposed, or wore such loose-fitting masks that the gaps would not prevent transmission.

But they already know this. People know intuitively how stupid it is to wear a mask from the hostess station at a restaurant to the table, only to take it off once you’re seated, as if COVID knows not to bother people once they’re sitting down. 

The powers that be have already explained that this pandemic is now endemic, meaning it will be with us forever. Meaning you will get it. And meaning you risk dying. Just like the flu, which kills 40,000 people a year on average.

Masks will not save you. Vaccines will not save you. 

Fresh food, fresh air, sunlight and exercise will save you. Not being obese will save you. Turning off the TV and sitting outside, working outside, planting a garden, exposing yourself to the elements — these things will save you. But the problem is, so many are too far gone, are too set in their ways, reluctant to move, addicted to their boxed foods and mind-numbing Netflix entertainment. 

And that’s what mask mandates are for. They are meant to protect the super-majority of Americans who have destroyed their bodies with sedentary lifestyles, pharmaceutical poisons, and disgusting foods. 

I believe the science. I believe in Darwinism. I believe in self-responsibility and personal accountability. And I believe that until there is a law requiring me to muzzle my children in a public place in order to protect salad-dodgers who will contract COVID anyway (as we all either have or shall), then I will defy orders that I find morally objectionable. 

To quote Thoreau, “The only obligation which I have a right to assume is to do at any time what I think right.” 

If only there were more people doing the same.

For legal information, a regularly updated list of patriotic businesses, and even mask defiance training, follow the Not This Time We Choose Freedom Facebook page.

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