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The Walking Dead

Lower that mask, I may punch you

I’m too old to get into a physical altercation. Why I carry a gun. Shoot them before they land the first blow if someone is really coming at me. Don’t kill them. Just shoot ‘em in the crotch so they’ll wish they were dead by the time they get out of the hospital.

At first, their wife would be understanding. “Honey, shared intimacy isn’t everything. I love you for your mind, your wit, your charm. No matter if you can no longer, you know, I’ll still love you and stay by your side forever.”

Sure. That’ll probably last six months, then the poor sucker will be all alone, his wife gone off on a fourweek cruise with all the credit cards and CDs, never to return, leaving the guy with the mangled gonad wishing he had just worn the facemask inside the grocery store and not provoked my anger.

Arthritis in my neck, cervical discs in bad shape. No, I’m not going to get punched, even though winning a fight really rests with knowing how to block a blow. Still physical altercations aren’t my thing, but verbal altercations are now on my front burner, and if I really tick someone off, and they come at me, good luck. Two hollow points should do the trick.

Really, I’m kidding. I don’t want to shoot anybody, but I’m not going to get punched, and I’m not going to stop calling out idiots when I see them crossing my path. Not during these lethal pandemic times through which we are now living.

Take this Monday, for example. I find out a family member living in east Texas has COVID-19, and she’s really not doing well. Shortly after hearing that news, I have to make a quick run to the grocery store, and I’m really not in a good mood on the drive there because I’m suddenly thinking how so many of the COVID-related deaths in the U.S. could have been prevented if people would have started wearing facemasks last March, never questioning if it made any sense. Caring not that their favorite politician never wore one and mocked those who did.

Of course it makes sense to wear a facemask in public. How could it not? If you’re infected with a potentially lethal, highly infectious virus known to shred lungs and kill perfectly healthy people, not to mention your grandma, and you don’t know you have the coronavirus because you’re asymptomatic, why wouldn’t you want to cover your nose and mouth so you don’t pass it on to your fellow human being? You know, just in case you are infected?

Call it a simple courtesy, love for your fellow man, or woman. Call it logic. Unfortunately, facemasks became a political issue, and here we are today with more than 355,000 dead.

I refer to people such as this as “The Walking Dead,” because they clearly lack a brain. I think some alien force is already on planet earth and has sucked their cranial cavity dry and replaced it with some sort of filler. Sawdust maybe, who knows. Maybe some alien computer chip that just makes them stupid, hard to say.

I get to the grocery store, don my facemask, and walk inside to grab a few items. I love this store because it’s not so big you get lost in it. It’s actually like the neighborhood-size grocery stores I grew up going to with my mom, back when a week’s worth of groceries for three people (two adults and a kid) cost $20; circa 1967 maybe. How do I remember that? One’s memory is weird, I’ll admit that. I can remember it because one day I was standing with my mom waiting for her to check out at the grocery store register, and I can remember clear as if it was yesterday, the clerk telling her that it would be $20. Maybe something like $21.34, but I clearly remember the 20 number, and I’ve never forgotten it. Now, $20 won’t get you through a fast-food restaurant drive-thru for two people (one meal).

During that same period, by the way, there was a Cadillac dealership across the highway from the neighborhood where I lived. One day I walked through their lot on the way to a friend’s house, and stopped to look at a Couple Deville. I bent over and looked at the window sticker. Same time period. About ’67, maybe 1966. Guess how much? Brand new Caddie. Five grand plus change. Back to Monday’s trip to the grocery store after finding out that someone I love has a bad case of COVID. At the back of the store, this guy walks by me who looks to be about my age. With him is a kid, maybe 20. The older guy, though, is steering the shopping cart, and he’s got his facemask pulled down below his chin. Clearly, I know what his politics are, and I could care less, except for the fact that he’s a moron walking around with this screw-you attitude. He either doesn’t believe COVID-19 is legit, doesn’t think he has anything to worry about, or either has terminal cancer and doesn’t care if he takes anyone out with him if he does have the virus.

I doubt if any of the store personnel are going to say anything to him. He’s older than all of them. I know this because I’m one of their regular shoppers. I’m sure he had his face and nose covered when he walked in, and then dropped the mask when he got in one of the aisles.

Like I said, I already wasn’t in a good mood when I see this pecker head pass by. So I yelled out, “Put on the damn mask. You might infect less people.” He just kept walking, turned the corner and headed down another aisle, but he did say something like, “You got it.” I flagged down a store employee and asked him if he’d follow the guy and see if he had put his mask back on.

Long story short, I ran into the same guy at the front counter. There was one woman between me and him and the kid with him. By this time, I’m staring bullet holes through his head, but he won’t look my way. I know what he’s going to do, though, and he proved me right.

Just as he’s halfway out the door, down comes his facemask, even though he’s supposed to be wearing it in the parking lot as well. I usually don’t make a fool out of myself, but I couldn’t help it, so I yelled at him, “I hope you catch it. Put on your effin’ mask,” although I don’t think I said effin’, and I never swear in public. At least not where anyone can hear me. I just didn’t care though. I was that ticked off.

It’s people like that guy who are largely responsible for the shape this country is in. They just don’t care if they catch the virus and pass it on to you or me. I hope the fool does catch the virus. I hope he recovers, but maybe that might teach him a lesson: COVID-19 is no hoax.

Then again, since his cranial cavity has clearly been sucked dry, he probably wouldn’t learn anything after a five-day stint in the COVID unit, and he still wouldn’t wear a mask after he returned to public life.

Every time I see one of these clowns out in public, though, I am going to call them out on it. I’m sick of them. Sick of them turning a simple facemask into a political issue when clearly, it’s a public-health issue.

Advance Publishing Company

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