When I see a person without a mask within 6 feet of me or anyone else, I want to spray them in the face with disinfectant. Kind of like using Mace against a violent, life-threatening criminal.
I know that might constitute an assault, but, I reason, so is the maskless menace breathing potentially deadly pathogens into the air in my direction. “The freedom to extend your arm, stops where my nose begins,” I remember as a criminal law mantra from law school. That principle applies perfectly here.
So, what can we do in “self-defense?” What’s the appropriate action for victims of the maskless morons to take? Do we need our own “Stand Your Public Health Ground Law?” If shaming doesn’t work, especially when dealing with a selfish jerk, what can we do to proactively protect ourselves and the health of the people we love?
I was confronted with that conflict head-on, while my granddaughters, my son, his wife and mine, were all having a wonderful, socially distanced birthday celebration at a beautiful beach on the Sonoma Coast. For context, its’ important to note that when I am in the presence of our 3 granddaughters — ages 11, 9, and almost 5 — I am in state of bliss. Few things can loosen that circle of love. Even Donald Trump, the most dastardly of dastards, becomes a child’s silly ditty: “Donald Trump is a horse’s rump; he belongs in a garbage dump.” Ok. My ditty — but my grandchildren giggle with glee when they hear it. Still, my mood of joy for those three girls remains uninterrupted.
So there we were, all playing on the beach, sculpting Sand Cats, and replicas of Hogwarts and Stonehenge (the girls love cats and Harry Potter, and their mother is an Anthropologist) when an oblivious old coot comes walking directly toward us on the beach — maskless, mirthless and clueless as to the danger he was breathing with him. He had barged into my bliss, momentarily catching me off guard, unable to bark out “Where’s your fucking, Mask, loser?” because my granddaughters were right there, and he was suddenly upon us.
He barely avoided us, and I looked after him in disgust, wanting to run up behind him, knock him over, and push his face into the sand. But of course, I didn’t. My granddaughters were watching, and I kept my anger in check and repressed my strong desire to go all “Johnny Brooklyn” on him. Impressionable ears were listening carefully. We complained a bit about him getting too close for comfort, but then resumed our play in the sand, and running from the ice cold waves chasing us back.
“I felt his breath on me,” my oldest granddaughter said, and I immediately regretted not punching the maskless moron in the nose so he couldn’t breathe on anyone. I rationalized my response by complimenting myself on not making a scene, when I felt that was exactly what I should have made.
As we were leaving the beach, giddy from getting to spend an entire day with each other, masked and socially distanced on one of the most spectacular beaches in all of California, three unmasked teen-aged boys approached us on a narrow path back to the parking lot. The tallest of the three, walking in front, saw all of us, with our faces covered, and momentarily pulled up his tee shirt to cover his mouth and nose, then dropped it down when his peach-fuzz faced friends blithely refused to cover theirs. We stopped and stepped aside — not quite 6 feet — to let them pass.
“You inconsiderate little pricks, cover your faces,” a voice inside me said, but that’s where it stayed. My granddaughters were watching, and I didn’t want to model bad behavior, even though they had just witnessed it by the three-skin faced stooges.
If I were alone, would I have done more than give an icy “you maskless moron” stare to the oblivious old coot or the Teenage Mutant Maskless Turds? In a State Park or city or county or town where mask-wearing is mandatory during this COVID Pandemic, don’t law abiding citizens have the right to enforce the law? To demand compliance? To shame the shameless bastards? To kick sand in their uncovered faces?
If I were a member of a Public Health Police Force, I’d hand out stiff fines to every violator, and arrest those arrogant asses who claim they “don’t believe in masks,” or they “need to breathe oxygen,” as if the air in a mask is methane. Until that time comes, I’m shopping for some new masks or tee-shirts that scream: “Wear Your Fucking Mask,” “Cover Your Mouth AND Nose,” or “Your Breath Is Killing Your Mother.” I’m also contemplating carrying a disinfectant filled spray-bottle to mark off my six-foot territory the way a cat sprays to claim its turf. I’m deciding on designing these spray bottles to look like a Corona Virus, with each orange spike capable of spewing Lysol or bleach.
It’s either that, or unleashing my inner Johnny Brooklyn on the maskless morons moving in self-centered concentric circles among us — regardless of age or gender — and the results won’t be quiet nor pretty, but they might just dramatically reduce COVID infection rates, and ignorance if we act out like ACTUP did against AIDS. Those might be just the tactics needed to get through to the dumb-as-fuck dunderheads who need to simply choose between putting on their mask or a prison uniform, for all the deaths and illness they’ve callously caused.