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By Mel White 

Mask it or...?

On the Bright Side


May 23, 2020

Mel White

I gotta say, I don't understand the hysteria and controversy over wearing masks in these days of Coronavirus (or COVID-19). For Pete's sake, don't we have more important things to argue about than whether to wear a mask or not?

According to my Facebook page, however, masks are a hot topic of discussion, and that is further verified by newscasts and letters to editors and radio talk shows. So what to do, what to do, what to do...wear a mask or not?

I'm personally of the opinion that it may or may not help to wear a mask, but it won't hurt, so why not wear one if there's a chance it might help someone else? I keep thinking of a comparison to when you have an injury and you don't know whether to put heat or ice on it, and then you remember that heat may help or actually hurt the injury, but ice – while it may not help – will do no harm. I sorta feel the same way about wearing a mask: it may not help but it doesn't hurt.

So I try to wear a mask when I am in public, in a store especially (and I now have a collection of pretty, colorful ones). I don't wear one in the car or at home, or in the company of close friends who I know are being careful and considerate of others. Around strangers, however, I am most definitely wearing a mask as I specifically want to do my part in not spreading any disease (or anything else while we deal with this unknown virus and how it may zero in on anyone dealing with any illness).

I have some breathing issues, among other health issues, that put me in a high risk group for Coronavirus, but I also understand that wearing a mask in public does not protect me from getting those ugly germs into my lungs. Rather, my wearing a mask means I am less likely to spread any germs I already have in me to someone else. That seems a small, kind and easy way to stem the flow of the relentless COVID-19 droplets flying around out there.

I don't get quite as serious about it as the folks who coined the phrase "mask it or casket" (after the old "click it or ticket" phrase to remind people that wearing a seat belt is the law). I don't particularly like wearing a seat belt either but I do, and I'd rather not get (another) ticket because I'm not wearing one. Masks aren't comfortable either but I don't really want me or anyone else to end up in a casket because I might be inadvertently spreading something that might weaken or harm someone else's immune system.

And while I agree that wearing a mask is a good thing for myself and for others, I'm also not quite as adamant as the Facebook user Amber Burnworth who wrote (edited by me to exclude the naughty words): "Just put the ... masks on and quit bitching! sound like a ... toddler throwing a tantrum in their church clothes. It's a piece of ... cloth, not the Star of David. The government isn't loading you into trains and cars and taking you to a concentration camp – you're going to Walmart for ... Twinkies and Diet Coke, you whiny ... children."

I'm perhaps not as adamant as that but I do agree with the sentiment, although I might try to say it a little nicer. I just don't see what the big deal is and why so many people think their rights are being stamped on when they are asked to be considerate of their fellow human beings.

And as I mentioned above, I wear a mask mainly to protect you. If you don't care to protect me from yourself, that is your choice right now. I know some stores expect me to wear a shirt and shoes or I don't get any service, and some of them are adding "no mask, no service" and that's okay, too.

We all have a right to try to protect ourselves from others, and if someone else or a store owner asks me to wear a mask, I wear it gladly rather than pitch a fit or throw a tantrum.

We are, as they say, all in this together and it seems a small concession to wear a mask every now and then for the safety of others, whether it is required by law or not.

© Marilda Mel White. Mel White, local writer/photographer and co-owner of the Treasure Trove, has been looking on the bright side for various publications since 1996. She's also been wearing a mask in public now for a couple of months. Mel welcomes your comments at


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