The Mask and the Meer

Meerkat in Mask 001

Like most people who are suffering through this latest pandemic (Version 13.2, if my memory serves me correctly), I have been letting my blog go to hell.

I didn’t even have to carry it there in a hand-basket, they came and picked it up for me.

From what I’ve read in all of the blogs I’ve been reading, us bloggers fall into two categories:

  1. Bloggers who have been stuck at home for almost 2 months and so have run out of things to write about
  2. Bloggers who are considered “essential” and so have to go into work every day and work extra hours and so have nothing interesting to write about other than work (which is inherently uninteresting)

I fall into category 2.  This pandemic has not created anything out of the ordinary for me.   It is even more more of the same, only more so.

The only views I get of the world are the darkened streets as I drive into work early in the morning, and those same nearly darkened streets on the way home in the evenings.  In between those two times, my views of the world consist of fluorescent lighting, linoleum flooring (white-with-speckles), and institutional-green walls.

The only thing really different now is that I am required to wear a surgical mask.

Who Was That Masked Man?

I have a few thoughts on wearing masks.

Mask Thought #1

For those of us who suffer from allergies, wearing a mask is like adding insult to injury.   On a good day, my breathing is only about 40% effective as it is.  Add a face mask, and that drops down to about 20%.  Climbing a flight of stairs can cause me to see spots, flares, and to smell toast.

The other day I had to go up to the third floor and after 2 flights of stairs I’m pretty sure I was visited by my spirit animal.

Unfortunately, it was a meerkat and its only words of wisdom to me were, “Avoid the chipped beef in the cafeteria.

He didn’t have to tell me that!

So I said, “No, YOU avoid the chipped beef in the cafeteria.  What do you think about that?”

The lack of oxygen was making me irascible.

Mask Thought #2

Another thing about masks is that everyone’s speech is muffled.

I spent a lot of time in my youth in my car playing rock and roll at top volume.  As a result, I already need to look at peoples’ lips in order to help my brain translate what they’re saying.  Now, cover their mouth with a mask and I find myself gazing into their eyes trying to pick up verbal cues from the micro-dilations of their eyes as they speak.

I have an appointment with HR on Monday morning.  Apparently, gazing intently into one’s coworkers’ eyes is frowned upon.

Mask Thought #3

Every time I slip my surgical mask on in the morning, I suddenly feel like Groucho Marx playing the part of a doctor.  Or, more accurately, I feel like Hawkeye Pierce imitating Groucho Marx playing the part of a doctor.

I walk into every room in the building like Hawkeye (Groucho), tapping the ash off of an imaginary cigar as I raise and lower my eyebrows repeatedly.

Good morning, ladies and germs,” I announce.  “I would have been here sooner, but I slipped in a pile of management and dislocated my pension.   Nurse, where’s my first patient?  I’m nearly out of patients and at my wits end.  Or am I out of wits and nearly at my patient’s end?  What am I, a gastroenterologist?  Never mind, pass me those forceps and prepare to do a wallet-ectomy on our patient.   If we’re out of forceps, pass me my four iron.  And set the iron on high because I’ve discovered a new wrinkle in this case.  At least, I think it’s a wrinkle.  Maybe the patient is rankled, instead.  He seems to have sprained his rankle.

And so on and so on.  Now you know why it’s important for me to not wear a mask.



Enjoy your Friday, everyone!  Stay safe!



  1. As somebody who has never had an interesting thing to say in his life I consider myself fortunate – you have all been brought down to my level, so now, just say what you think. Your Groucho was brilliant btw 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Everyone has something interesting to say. It’s just that those same things are seldom interesting to ourselves. I’m not sure why the universe so arranged itself that way. It has a sense of humor, I guess.

      Thank you for the compliment on my Groucho. I’m a big fan since I was a wee lad. I used to watch the Marx Brothers on TV wearing my pajamas. How the TV got into my pajamas I’ll never know …..

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m so fed up looking for my car keys, my mask, and have no where to go anyway. I’ve already lost all focus. I’m thinking of doing a blog interview with my dogs on their view of quarantine. But that would be admitting that they actually answer me back.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Candice! I’m glad I was able to give you a nice chuckle. That is the best medicine for most of what ails us.

      We are all either Cat #1 or Cat #2. The thing is, we can never really be sure which one we are without examining our lives, and by then it is too late. We find the answer doesn’t really matter and that we are both Cat #1 and Cat #2.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Much to the chagrin of all of the adults in my life as I was growing up, that is true. 🙂 But somewhere along the line I became a very quiet, introverted person and now my words only flow out through my keyboard.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow, you know your Groucho all right. As it happens I’ve just been watching Duck Soup — good for the soul. when you’re all locked up with nowhere to go. Hang in there Biff, the traffic jams will be back before you know it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Marx Brothers had a profound influence on me at an early age. The local TV stations used to play their movies late at night and the first time I saw a Marx Brothers’ movie it was an epiphany to me, and I knew that comedy was the life for me.

      And you are right about the traffic jams. I have been going in to work over the past 8 weeks and I have seen the freeways go from virtually empty 6 weeks ago to almost back to normal as of this past Friday. And especially now that the sun is shining and spring is bursting forth, the true human spirit is awakening and we are taking our lives back.


  4. In the UK we’re still arguing over whether to even wear masks; people who love sewing are having fun with leftover flowery material and ribbons from their craft baskets; thin enough to talk through and thin enough for viruses to slip through…

    Liked by 1 person

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