Politics & Other Mistakes: Unmasked marauders

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Who says the Maine Legislature is composed of a bunch of dinguses who can’t make hard decisions?

Oh, that would be me.

But a recent development may have called my judgment into question.

After weeks of squabbling, sulking and general passive-aggressive behavior, our legislators finally agreed on rules for what sorts of protective facial wear are appropriate for use during House and Senate sessions and other Statehouse business.

I can’t tell you how proud I am after seeing our elected officials behave like adults. Very young adults, to be sure, the kind with surly attitudes, overdue college loans, and the belief that life can be dealt with in much the same fashion as a video game. Still, that’s an improvement over the teenage years. And a big step up from toilet training.

Before the agreement on masks and face shields, certain legislators, mostly Republicans, objected to any mandate requiring them to cover up their pusses. Some claimed that such a rule would be a governmental overreach. Others said they had medical conditions that precluded wearing masks. A few claimed the whole pandemic thing was a fraud cooked up by an international cartel of mask manufacturers.

In other words, they behaved like the twit brains who comprise a significant portion of Androscoggin County commissioners.

Whatever validity these claims might have (none), there are far more compelling arguments in favor of covering up. These contentions don’t even include the obvious one that masks help prevent the spread of dangerous germs. Kids just out of diapers can grasp that one. Let’s advocate for slightly more mature positions.

First, it’s indisputable that wearing a mask makes almost everyone look better. I’m not saying that our legislators are ugly, but reducing their facial visibility by 50 percent makes an awful lot of them 100 percent more attractive. For those who are habitually unshaven, pimply, or have crooked or missing teeth, a simple mask represents a significant upgrade. Also, it’s a proven fact that masks are effective in blocking garlic breath.

The longer it becomes necessary to wear such protection in public, the greater the number of ugly people who are going to find themselves in flirtatious situations. This will provide an excellent opportunity for the less objectionable parts of their personalities to emerge from behind their unimpressive façades.

This brings me to the second advantage offered by masks: disguise. Super-heroes have known this for years. Deadpool has a hideous face, but a hot girlfriend, because he wears a mask that covers his whole head. Likewise, Spiderman hides his overwhelming nerdiness with web-embossed cloth. Iron Man doesn’t have those problems, but, no doubt, Tony Stark keeps his face enclosed out of modesty. Also, bulletproof.

Come on legislators, admit it, you think having a secret identity (Super Senator Man, Captain Representative Woman) would make you way cooler. You’re almost certainly wrong, but behind that colorful headgear, feel free to indulge in any weird fantasies you like.

Finally, there’s the mask effect that improves not the face, but the rest of the body: Covering your mouth prevents you from eating or drinking. If you’re an average American, you’re overweight. You might even belong to a significant portion of the population that’s obese. That’s neither healthy nor attractive. Also, I don’t think they make superhero costumes in plus sizes.

You’ve probably tried dieting. But there always seem to be fattening foods or high-calorie beverages around, and sending them down your gullet is so pleasing and effortless – particularly if your weight-loss plan involves kale. A good, tight mask provides a barrier that may provide just enough of an obstacle to allow your resolve to prevail over your desire to add to your avoirdupois.

Also, it muffles your voice when you say something stupid.

Better looking. More heroic. Less blubbery. Wearing a mask offers so many advantages, legislators ought to continue to sport them long after vaccines have rendered the coronavirus moot, and life has returned to sub-normal.

Also, when their next campaign rolls around, it’ll provide the perfect excuse not to kiss babies.

I’m pro-mask, not pro-gag, so email me at aldiamon@herniahill.net.