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Wednesday, June 23, 2021

You Can Have My Mask When You Pry It off My Cold, Dead Face

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A man wearing a protective face mask walks past an illustration of a virus, in Oldham, England, August 3, 2020. (Phil Noble/Reuters) I’m not ready for a future in which I just go around without a visible display of my self-righteousness.

Sure, I’ve read the studies that say masks probably don’t do much of anything, and yes, I’ve been quintuple-vaccinated. But I’m going to keep wearing my mask forever. It feels like the right thing to do. I know this because it’s the opposite of what those horrible right-wingers think. You call this a meaningless strip of fabric; I call it my emotional-support cloth.

Masking up every day when I get out of bed fills me with a sense of calm, wellness, and moral superiority. Frankly, I’m not ready for a future in which I just go around the community without a visible display of my self-righteousness. I suppose I could get a Queen Kamala tattoo on my face or something, but that seems impractical. (What will I do when Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is president, haha.)

Signaling things to others is a really important part of my identity. That’s why I have one of those “DARWIN” bumper stickers on my fuel-efficent Mini Cooper, why I have an “IN THIS HOUSE WE BELIEVE” yard sign (okay, in my case it’s a window sign because we don’t have a yard in Park Slope), and why I spent nine years getting a Ph.D. in Cultural Studies. Keeping a mask on my face indefinitely is like shorthand for all of the stuff I want to indicate to others, right there on my face.

I do a lot of things to fight the anti-science people right in my apartment — for instance vigorously disinfecting all of the boxes that arrive and opening them only with rubber gloves on, but it bothers me that no one can see how thoughtful and responsible I am behind closed doors. I mean, do my partner and I get any credit for sleeping in plastic pods so that we don’t infect each other? Out of an abundance

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