Aisle Of Wit

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Unmasking Priorities

I try to avoid the news cycles these days when it comes to Omicron updates.  Yesterday’s “request” from Los Angeles County Public Health Director  Dr. Barbara Ferrer that we “are being urged to postpone nonessential gatherings and avoid some activities”, coupled with her previous “recommendation” to upgrade our masks to “well-fitting, higher quality medical quality, such as KN-95s”  finally was too much for Leblanguage to ignore.  So here goes, Ms. Ferrer.

First of all, before you think I am some Alex Jones sycopant or male Karen, I am triple vaccinnated and I own over 50 masks, several lanyards to avoid irritation on my ears, and an acrylic gaiter.  I’ve never tested negative, and I chose to isolate after my roommate contracted Omicron, having no close contact with any other  human being until we both had been secluded for at least five days and tested negative,  In many ways, I’m a poster child for your recommendations.  I also have many close friends who choose not to be vaccinated, and they are perfectly healthy. I’ve only seen them wear masks when we’ve been in places.   I pray for their continued good health, not for their compliance.

So about this mask thing.  I realize you and your compadres Tomas Aragon (California’s public health officer) and Dr. Mark Ghaly, California’s health and human services secretary, have our collective best interests in mind when you issue these “recommendations”.  Somehow, after y’all make your case for safety, public responsibility, etc. the California Department of Public Health issues a breakdown of mask effectiveness that somehow push N95s, KN-95s  and KF-94s to the top, without specific numbers such as particles per million being filtered away from us to back up these rankings.  I’m sure they exist.  What might they be?

Since I have a lot of time on my hands due to all of these recommendations, I did a little good old fashioned research on you, Dr. Ferrer, and the folks that make the masks y’all are insisting are the ones I should “upgrade” to:

— Your doctorate is in social justice, not any field of medicine.

— You have donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to Democratic candidates, and your own biography notes you are a “philanthropic strategist”.

— You currently earn just over $330,000 a year, plus bonuses, in the position you are in, which has optimal relevance and keeps you in the spotlight as long as the war on COVID rages.

— 3M is among the leading domestic manufacturers of KN-95 and N-95 masks.

— The majority of political contributions from 3M in 2019 and 2020 were to Democratic candidates.

No assumptions here, Barbara dear.  But just one question:  Since you have such an impressive six-figure salary, have you personally invested in any 3M stock lately?  What about Dr. Ghaly?  Aragon?  Dare I ask about Gavin Newsom?  Oh, right, you don’t have to disclose how you choose to spend your money.  You just “recommend” I spend mine on a specific kind of mask that, personally, when I have worn them make me gag from the smell and irritated my ears with those cheap rubber bands they call earloops.

This is how I choose to walk around in public these days.  Two masks, one three-layer cloth with insert and nose guard, aforementioned acrylic gaiter, and lanyards on both masks so my ears don’t itch.  Curious what my filtration effectiveness is versus 3M’s disposables.  Hope my way at least comes close to your lofty standards.

Now about this whole “it’s too unsafe to get together with people right now” thing.  Let me give you a couple of names you probably don’t know, and sadly I had lost touch with as well.

Todd Whiting was a successful salesperson for NBCU that I once got the chance to do a few million dollars worth of business with.  I was reaching out to him last year in the hopes of reconnecting with him at NATPE this year.  Never heard back.  Yesterday I learned why.  Todd passed away.  45 years old.  An 18-month old daughter left behind. (There is an active GoFund Me that was started for his daughter on behalf of many of his friends and colleagues.  I can’t contribute much myself, but I hope you may find a few spare bucks to do so yourself; the link is below).

Gilles Meunier was once the head of 20th Century Fox TV Sales’ office in Paris.  Spent a great night with him and others at a private L.A. screenings reception for the global team I was a part of.  He assumed from my last name I had a French background (spoiler alert: nope) but he fast-forwarded my limited French vocabulary while getting me drunk on the best sauvignon I had ever had that he had brought over.   He quickly became my favorite intetnational salesman.

Not long after that he began a relationship with a beautiful colleague of mine that was once nice enough to allow me to take her to the movies a few times.  Naturally, he swept her off her feet and swept her right to France and out of my limited world.  She found the prince she deserved, and while disappointed I was thrilled for l’amour.   He moved on from Fox to a successful career on the buyer side, and eventually they returned to her native Florida.  Again, I had looked forward to reconnecting with them at NATPE this year.  Sadly, I learned yesteerday that Gilles too had passed away, a few years older than Todd to be sure but still too premature.

Point is: when we delay connecting with people for reasons that at best are well-intentioned but perhaps a bit too dictatorial we honestly don’t know if and when another opportunity will present itself.   Staying “safe” when safety puts you in a bubble of loneliness has repurcussions far beyond the transmission of a virus.  The virus of regret and solitiude can last a lot longer than Omicron.  I know I’m feeling much sicker about Todd and Gilles today than I likely would from a scratchy throat.

Way too many plans are being disrupted by trusting the likes of Barbara Ferrer and her recommendations.  Everyone has the right to make their own choices, and I grudgingly must concede the people who are disappointing me with postponements are more than entitled to them.  I’m only going to ask this, dear Barbara.  What would you say to someone who missed out on ever seeing someone again because they listened to your advice?

One last thing.  If ever a face was meant to be covered by a mask, it would be yours.

Until next time…

Fundraiser by Ashley Kraska, Frances Manfredi, Bruce Casino, Justin Kaufman…. : Education Fund to Support Todd Whiting’s Daughter (gofundme.com)