One of the subjects for endless news stories these days is the innocuous face mask. Yes, we are required to wear the mask and while some find it convenient to make the mask wearing a political statement, it’s one of the realities of our time. From everything that we’re seeing, it will continue to be so.

What I don’t understand is why this has become such a controversial item. Many, many manufacturers have gone to great lengths to create masks that are attractive, funny, unique, and comfortable. But the conflicts persist, sometimes ending in fights between retail or restaurant employees and citizens who refuse to comply.

Greater minds than mine and those of many others have determined that the mask is the single most important deterrent to Covid-19, other than locking yourself up in a secure place. If you are not interested in preventing yourself from contracting the disease, that’s your business. But if your not wearing a mask subjects me to whatever contagious critters you’re carrying, no thank you.

Beside all of that, there are some amusing realities associated with wearing a mask. The other day, I left the school where I was teaching all day with my mask. Entering my car, I looked in the mirror and noticed that there was a conspicuous speck of food between my teeth. Then I laughed, realizing that no-one saw it anyway, thanks to the mask.

Masks prevent us from worrying about potentially bad breath. They eliminate the need for lipstick. They allow some to make fashion statements. I hope that they are providing income both for fund-raising and small business owners who have capitalized on their skills and creativity by designing popular masks.

Most importantly, wearing the mask is giving us the opportunity to do the right thing for all concerned. If we are unknowing carriers, we prevent others from catching what we’ve got. And if they have it and are wearing masks, both of us have layers of protection. Let’s be good natured about a situation that no-one wanted or predicted. It will be over eventually and if we are careful, we will live to see the world after the virus is under control. Shalom.

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