OPINION

GOOD MORNING: Cloth is better than paper

Jerrie Whiteley
Herald Democrat
Jerrie Whiteley / Herald Democrat

For the past week, I spent about eight hours a day wearing a mask as part of the precautions for COVID-19 being observed during a jury trial. That experience led me to believe that cloth is better than paper when comes to masks.

Many people have complained during the pandemic that wearing a mask was bothersome and caused them problems from skin breakouts to foggy glasses to problems breathing.

The nature of my job has allowed me to get through the majority of the ongoing pandemic without wearing a mask for such a long duration, so I couldn't really relate to those who had to wear one for hour after hour and day after day. 

But then came the murder trial I was covering and the day I forgot my masks — all of them — as I ran out of the house and had to wear one of those paper ones all day long. By the end of the day, my face had broken out and I understood the complaints. That paper thing was hot and it bugged my ears.

The next day I remembered to wear one of the cloth ones my friend made me way back when this whole thing started and I realized that the type of mask one wears makes all of the difference in the world. Now, I am not talking about how much the mask does or does not protect me from the virus. I am not a doctor and I am not going to argue with anyone about that. The people we pay to keep us all safe from such things tell me to wear a mask and so I wear a mask. When I need a fire put out at my house, I don't call the fire department and then stand there and argue with them about how to put out the fire. I make the call for help and then get out of the way and let the specially trained folks do their jobs. In my opinion, the mask deal is the same thing. There are trained specialists we pay to know what to do and they say wear them, so I wear them.

But which one has been a topic of conversation and after spending a day in that paper thing I can understand why. I know there are companies that have made a great deal of money on masks during this whole thing and I can't really make up my mind about how I feel about that. On the one hand, no one should make much needed masks like the ones medical professionals and others need so expensive that they can't be procured. On the other hand, coming up with masks that work to protect people and allow them to display their how individual style is a very American thing to do. For instance, I was in court the other day when I saw a woman I know wearing a Wonder Woman mask. It was perfectly suited to her sparkling personality and I had to stop what I was doing to tell her so. 

I have seen women wear masks that were blinged out with stones and sparkles and others wear ones with the cutest little daisies all over them. Of course, there are carton character ones for children. I am always so impressed when I see a mom at the grocery store with little ones who are all masked up. I just can't imagine the parenting skills that maneuver takes to pull off when full grown adults are throwing such fits about it. 

Hopefully the need to wear a mask when in large groups and public places will lift soon, but until it does I want one that says, "No, really, I am smiling, you just can't see it." I want that because I feel like a smile can communicate so much in life and covering up our faces really puts a dent in that communication.