When Kathy and I joined the U of M Club of Ann Arbor a few years ago, we lowered the average age by a few points. The main attraction of joining is entrance to the Coaches’ Luncheons, which feature a fine hot lunch from Weber’s shared by like-minded rabid Wolverine fans, all gathered to hear talks from 2 coaches. Sure, the stars show up, and we’ve seen both Jimmy (1) and Juwan. But filling up the rest of the slots are the sometimes even more interesting assistants (we heard from nearly every one of Jimmy’s young talented staff last fall) as well as coaches of the “non-revenue sports”, such as today’s diminutive but dynamic Kim Barnes Arico, whose lady roundballers are off to their best season ever. They’re a lock for the NCAAs, where they reached the sweet sixteen last year, in contention for the Big Ten title, and feature a WNBA first-rounder in the post.
The Luncheons were victim of COVID 2020-21, and it was good to see them resume this year. The local Omicron surge sunk most of January’s meetings, and they’ve resumed with a heighten dose of COVID paranoia. While the U of M Club is not under the arm of the athletic department, those who run the show in the club have adopted the athletic director’s restrictions, instituted for University sporting events January 1st: vaxx passports produced on entry or at least proof of 72 hours or less of a negative COVID test, plus masks for inside affairs. While COVID tests are free and readily available all over campus (except on weekends), sometimes the timing doesn’t work. Kathy and I were in Kalamazoo during the 72 hour lead-up to this Monday, so we found a lab in Portage willing to stick a Q-tip up our noses, for a fee, of course.
At Weber’s, as with all Michigan eating establishments, masks can be removed for eating or drinking. Funny how that passage of materials into the piehole totally blocks entrance or exit of coronavirus. So today, after finishing my salmon lunch, I turned my chair around to face the first speaker, and let’s say Mr. Smith could see my facial expressions. After not too long, a woman came along. I think she was a club member not restaurant staff. In a scolding voice, she told me to put on a mask! I turned my head to her and just said “No!”. Kathy was worried we’d get thrown out of the room, but I grabbed my magic talisman – my water glass – holding it in my hand and keeping it filled for the next hour, and that was the last we saw of our COVID harpie.
The event inspired me to come home and gin up a little something that I could hand to people such as our harpie in order to explain my point of view. Here’s what I came with. Note it is only 2″ X 3.5″in real life. Thank God for computers, home printers, and card stock. I’ve railed against masks since the early days of this blog. I’ll spare you all the links except for the latest (2).
If you’re looking for a reference to bolster your “why bother” mask, good luck. What’s out there are articles that masks as part of the rest of the “mitigating measures”, like hand washing and distancing, may reduce risk. But masks just stop respiratory droplets, letting teeny Mr. Corona pass right through. Even St. Anthony privately e-mailed that they don’t do much (3). Worse comes to worse, you can buy a mask that looks like a mask but allows free passage of air and won’t fog your glasses (4). Handy for airplanes. Or you can buy a mask that makes a statement. I bought a mask a couple weeks ago with this image on it:
Bought it on Etsy. Can’t find it today.
But the best statement is not to wear one of the damned things. Fight the power!
1. Ike B. lunch with Jimmy. WordPress August 20, 2021. https://theviewfromharbal.com/2021/08/20/lunch-with-jimmy/
2. Ike B. Off with the masks! WordPress January 4, 2022. https://theviewfromharbal.com/2022/01/04/off-with-the-masks/
3. Richard L. Fauci said masks were not ‘really effective’ at blocking virus, emails reveal. Washington Examiner June 2,2021. https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/leaked-email-fauci-obama-official-not-wear-mask-virus-pass-through-material
4. The UnMask. breathe with us. https://www.getunmask.com/