Wear a Mask

Just maybe not this mask.

Let’s start with this: Right now, you should wear some sort of basic mask when you leave the house. You shouldn’t waste high-grade N95 respirators, which can be used by medical personnel. You should also continue to remain home as much as possible, keep washing your hands frequently, and stay six feet away from others when you do go out, even with a mask on. But when you’re out in public, a mask of any sort will be beneficial to both you and society.

You’ve likely seen that advice on wearing a mask has shifted over time in the United States, but since last week, the CDC has recommended it. One individual who’s been on the wrong side of nearly everything related to this pandemic has suggested he won’t wear a mask, noting nonsensically that it’s “just a recommendation”. This same gasbag has asked “What do you have to lose?” when suggesting taking a prescription drug with many serious side effects for an unproven, off-label purpose. Such a person should clearly be ignored as much as possible.

Common sense tells us that wearing a covering over the mouth and nose will help reduce the spread of COVID-19. If you have the virus and don’t know it, a mask will reduce the chances of you spreading it.1 It also reduces the odds of someone else transferring the virus to you. If you need more convincing, Maciej Cegłowski has you covered. If not, just remember that a mask protects others, it protects you, and hey, it’s something novel to do in a world that feels a bit stale.

Also, if you suddenly get the urge to rob a bank, you’ll already be dressed for the job.

Your humble author, wearing a face mask and looking not unlike a wild west bandit
At this point, I’m more likely to rob a barber, or at least put him to work.

As pictured above, I have winter running masks which I’ve found work well for daily use. Many people are using simple handkerchiefs and scarves, sewing their own masks, or digging out manufactured masks from home improvement projects. This is all excellent. Get on board!

Of course, businesses are jumping on the trend as well, in hopes of selling you a mask. Recently, I received an email from clothing retailer Jiffy Shirts, announcing their new cloth face covers available for sale (just $189 for 120 masks!). I was rather taken aback by the picture they used:

A man wearing a face mask with his ears sticking out in fairly ridiculous fashion
If that’s just how your ears are, well, I’m sorry my dude.

To be blunt, this is not a very appealing image. There seem to be two possibilities. Either these masks really pull your ears out in a most unattractive way, or Jiffy Shirts selected a model whose ears just stick out. Whichever the truth is, I think I’ll keep my $189, and keep using my running masks.

I hope you’ll all find suitable masks to wear in public as well. If you do purchase some of these (they have a 10 pack for $20), please send me some photos.


  1. If you have the virus and do know it, you absolutely shouldn’t be going out at all. ↩︎