Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania

Face masks, pandemic and ‘just in case’

By Ray Hanania

While the country is polarized over the politics of the pandemic, I’m more focused on other things.

The pandemic has given me a great excuse to stay away from people who are annoying, slovenly or unkempt with poor hygiene.

Sometimes, I shake someone’s hand and feel yuck! Thanks to COVID-19, I can grab the hand sanitizer and scrub my hands clean right in front of them, not waiting until they’ve gone to scrub off the germs, bacteria and grime. I don’t have to worry about offending them.

RayHanania 1

Ray Hanania

I stand six feet away from people who have no sense of personal space. They sidle up to you. believing being close shores up their weak character.

It doesn’t, by the way.

The face mask is essential in all this.

As an old person, I collect napkins, paper towels and facial tissues because I believe in the theory of “just in case.” My mom drilled it into my brain as a kid, and I can’t get it out.

So, I have paper towels in every pocket, which are already filled with a lot of junk, like a woman’s purse.

The older I get, the more napkins, tissues and paper towels I stuff in my pants pockets. I rip them off the roll, crunch them up and stuff them, where they remain forgotten until I need them.

It’s something Baby Boomers do. We never miss an opportunity to grab an extra napkin. “Just in case.”

“ Just in case” of what? I don’t know. But, “just in case.”

The lesson from my mom was to be prepared for anything, including the unknown. “Just in case.”

Who knows what?

All men have four pockets, unless they are wearing “cargo pants” shorts with pockets in pockets. I love cargo pants shorts, especially when I go on vacation. I’m like a Sherpa carrying everything I can possibly need. “Just in case.”

There have been very few vacations the past few years because of COVID-19, but I did go to Punta Cana, which I wrote about.

I have my keys in my right pocket. House keys. Car keys. Office keys. Post office box key. And keys I have no idea what they are for. Forgotten in a Prevagen mist.

I have a fat wallet in my back right pocket, filled with plastic. Credit cards. Health card. Driver’s license. Folded snags of paper with notes, scribbles and phone numbers that have been in there for years.

There are two souvenir coins, a JFK half dollar issued in 1964 that I keep for good luck despite the many superstitious people who think anything JFK is bad luck. The wallet also has a Washington quarter that my friend Harry Golden Jr. lodged (accidentally) in a typewriter at City Hall before he died. He left the typewriter for me, an Underwood, which I have also.

I have my iPhone in my left pocket, with a small charging wire and USB plug, “just in case.”

The back left pocket has the miscellaneous stuff that could be anything, for unexpected, surprise swings that come out of nowhere.

And, I have a small hand sanitizer bottle that nomads its way from pocket to pocket. I find myself digging into each of the pockets until I locate it before Mr. or Mrs. stinky grabs my hand with too much enthusiasm.

The face mask has to go someplace, because I don’t wear it all the time. So, I shove it in a pocket. Any pocket. It doesn’t have a specific place.

The face mask seems to be the straw that broke the camel’s back. The one item that went beyond the total things I can carry.

I took my car to one of the Secretary of State’s emission testing sites the other day. The sites are hidden in the nooks and crannies of industrial parks and are very hard to find. When I finally zigzagged my way to the Bedford Park center, the nice lady, wearing a face mask, waited until I could put mine on.

It was in my pocket. I tried digging in every pocket until it all came splashing out, and all the crap spilled all over. Napkins. Keys. Hand sanitizer. And more napkins. The face mask plastic straps snagged everything.

I looked at her and she smiled with that “just in case” look.

“Chance favors the prepared mind,” said Louis Pasteur, French chemist and microbiologist renowned for his discoveries of the principles of vaccination, microbial fermentation.

Summarized, it all comes down to “just in case.”

Check out Ray Hanania’s columns and political podcasts at hanania.com.

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