Newest Fad: Face Masks

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For the many days that Ah Kong followed government order to stay home, Ah came to form this new, exciting, and incontestable theory that reason for the government-initiated precaution was because of the impertinence of our noses and our mouths.

Such impertinence of our mouths possessing the habit of yakking more and less of keeping shut, and our noses with habit of poking themselves in anybody’s business, has given opportunity to a highly infectious disease named by the medical world as coronavirus the tactical maneuver to find entrance to human bodies and run amok inside, until human’s wither and die or defeat it and survive another day.

Such impertinence of our noses and mouths, in Ah’s theory, has forced government to order mandatory use of facemasks, if only to hide parts of our faces responsible for yakking and poking at someone else’s private affairs.

It’s the newest fad, the using of face masks. Majority of Cordillerans, lowlanders and other Filipinos complain, “di sila mabubuhay pag nawala and cell phone nila.”

Ah winks delightedly and pooh-poohs such preposterous idea, for he thinks, face masks have become the indispensable accessories of the modern age.

Face masks are omnipresent these days, blame it on that darned Covid 19. And people have taken matters into their own hands. In short, face mask shortage has sparked creative solutions.

Use a face mask, put on a sun glass on and transformed are ye into another character from your present state. Only, beware of using your make-up to commit a crime for the front liner police officers would happily pounce on you.

Philippine government health authorities always advise that when you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth or nose.

It’s just saying, any person in a crowded place and wearing a face mask is protecting himself/herself, while protecting others. And it makes others feel safe.

Face masks worn by Filipinos come in different colors which are pleasant to see but Ah has yet to see an enterprising Pinoy brave enough to use clean sanitary pad as face mask and march off onto the street.

A world away from the Philippines, in Soacha, Columbia, pupils at Julio Cesar Turbay School are making their own masks, using banana leaves, plastic bottles and newspaper.

Said Adriana Cubillos, teacher of Julio Cesar Turbay School, “We are a population of limited resources and vulnerable population. This is the reason why we decided to do this, as a didactic element.”

Bless our souls that no Filipino was reported having come out on the streets wearing nothing except a face mask.

Taking advantage of the situation some unscrupulous makers of facemasks have created a bedlam in the facemask market, as these profiteers try to out-hustle Good Samaritans by producing facemasks that don’t pass facemask standards.

Conversely, there are segments in the populace – not in Cordillera or the lowlands –  who not only defy quarantine rules but refuse to use face masks, prompting a barangay captain in barangay Divino San Andres, Catanduanes to invent his parameter of enforcing quarantine rules in his area of jurisdiction.

Barangay kapitan Sammy dela Cruz dressed his tanods in Grim Reaper costumes while accosting curfew violators in barangay Divino San Andres.

Contacted as to why he imposed such an idea, he said, “Pasalamat sila nandiyan lang sila sa loob ng bahay. Maraming nagbubuwis ng buhay at magbubuwis pa para sa kanila. Sana sumonod sila sa stay-at-home policy; iyan lang ang maiiambag nila sa   gobierno.”

Any curfew violator in barangay Divino San Andres impertinent enough in trying to peer into the hooded face of the tanods would be met with great disappointment for the tanods are also wearing black face masks, making their faces altogether unidentifiable and like they were sprung from the catacombs of hell.

But before continuing with such impertinence of our noses and our mouths and facemasks, let’s try to peek (there we go again, peeking into somebody’s business) into the private affairs of a regular nose and mouth. Let’s start with the nose, to consider the utility of the nose, its varieties and the purpose to which it may be applied.

If, perchance, you want to drive something out into the open, then you’re trying to nose something out, or your nose is onto something or you are following your nose or you have a nose for something.

Such creatures with such kind of noses are the ones called poking their noses into someone else’s affairs.

The next kind we can describe as keeping one’s nose clean. Simply means keeping to his/her own business. Sadly, my prens, this kind of creatures are few, far and between.

Then we have the sniffing noses. These are the ones the already strained and over-burdened police officers of ours of the Baguio City Police Office (BCPO) are trying their best to keep them apart at a social distancing of one meter. These are the ones who like to sniff at the perfume of the other person, to smell if the other person’s perfume is cheaper than what he/she is using.

And if the one sniffing discovers the other person’s perfume is expensive as compared to what he/she is using, such sniffer snorts by sneezing and coughing in protest, to the utter discomfort of others nearby.

Importance of the nose may be estimated from the fact that when a woman tries to bare pull the nose of another woman, it can result into screaming, biting, scratching and pulling of hairs. Same for the men. And the fracas will end for all with bloody noses.

Ah thinks time will come when our noses will be elevated into its proper dignity in our society.

Now we come to the mouth. Indeed, the great importance of the mouth is so well understood in this enlightened age that even the dumbest, like Ah, understands members of society cannot go along without one.

Ah believes a mouth is politically divided into several districts, like the 129 barangays in Baguio City which are district-divided. We have what Ah describes as the giggling mouth, the snickering mouth, the twisting mouth, the laughing mouth, the hysterical mouth and the always-open mouth.

Now, here comes, Erwin Caudillo, 57, from Baguio City, who would like to give a piece of his mind. He says of all the several politically divided districts of the mouth, what he likes best is the always-open mouth.

You might also describe the always-open mouth as the prattle mouth, the jabber mouth, the chit-chat mouth or simply the gossip.

The mouth is essential to happiness, consequently an important item in the human person.

But if the mouth is used for idle gossip, then its being an important item turns into a social disease, for it’s believed significant minds dwell on ideas, average thinking stick to events and teeny – weeny minds talk about people.

Now, Erwin says he learned from listening to government advice that coronavirus circulates through droplets in the air spread by sneezing or coughing and entering the body through the mouth, nose or eyes. After entering the body, the virus spreads to the back of the nasal passage and to mucous membranes of the throat, attaching to the body’s cell receptors.

By keeping our mouths and noses covered, it significantly helps slow spread of the virus. Thus, exploded the use of facemasks.

But just minute, padle Erwin, Ah asked, “How about the eyes? Coronavirus also happens to enter through the eyes? Ain’t we gonna facemask the eyes, too, Erwin?”

Erwin, who happens to be one of those gentle creatures whose blood pressure never shoots up whenever Ah ask silly questions hung his head then looked at Ah in resignation.

Then Erwin gently explained, “Ah Kong, ‘ol boy, the reason why government always advise us to wash our hands with soap and water is, there is a great possibility of us rubbing our eyes with our hands which could have been stained with the virus from our holding anything, intiende, eh?”

So we’re back to our topic the face mask fad. It has taken the world by storm.

But some nationalities in other countries have raised the ante higher in the use of face masks. In Japan for example, men have begun to wear women underwear or underpants as face masks. These clean panties look festive and colorful.

And why not? Remember in January when Mount Taal erupted and ash spread through the air? Well, the Philippine government suggested wearing diapers, bras or underwear if those affected in the vicinity of Mount Taal couldn’t afford N95 face masks?

N95 respirators are critically in short supply in the Philippines.

With a few simple twists and folds, any can make face mask out of an underwear.

By and large, use of face mask in today’s crisis is effective when used in combination of proper hand washing using soap and water or using alcohol and properly disposing of used face mask.

And why use soap? Because soap dissolves the lipid or fatty layer of the virus. The virus falls apart, just like a house demolished. The virus becomes inactive and dies.