Pull Your Masks Up, Boys


Mary Wiltenburg

Junior and journalism student Ben Keller models the nose-over-mask look.

Ben Graff, Contributor

Until now, I have been silent about my burning, burning hatred of the exposed noses of ‘masked’ kids at this school.

The teachers are all doing a fantastic job; I didn’t even know what Math teacher Jordan Wright’s face looked like until the other day.

But there are a few kids in my classes, who I won’t name, who wear their masks under their noses all day. And when I see this once or twice during my classes I tend to look the other way. It’s no big deal if you happen to let it slip when you yawn.

But when I can see your bearded, ugly face the entire class for three, sometimes four, classes every day, with a witch’s broom for a nose hanging out of your mask, it’s just so infuriating. It’s intentional. They think they’re too cool to be safe or something. 

I always visualize myself walking up to them and duct taping their disposable mask to their face and sending them on their way. But I never say anything. It would make me seem like a suck-up. But a suck up to whom?  Doctor Fauci? That’s dumb. I – and everyone else who sees and ignores this blatant health hazard – should speak up regardless of fear.

Instead, we all find ourselves paralyzed; we’re unable to speak up for the sake of our own health for fear of judgement. As the Boston Globe‘s Robby Robinson said in the movie Spotlight, one guy leans on another guy. One unmasked idiot leans on someone just a little scared to speak out, and suddenly all of us have our noses out like it’s a gunfight with virus instead of bullets.

This one particular time I saw a student who, again, will remain nameless. He went unmasked for almost the entire Statistics class simply because he had a fountain drink from Chipotle. Why?

How much easier is it to breathe with your mask down? Do you feel like the big strong, invincible meathead you so badly wish you were now that the whole classroom is breathing your germs in during the worst viral outbreak in 300 years?

I know this is likely a small thing. I know that there’s a slim chance that this guy gives someone covid because his mask was underneath his nose. But it makes you look and seem uneducated when you do it. You’re basically saying, “Hey, I know that there’s a pandemic and I know that masks are the #1 defense against it, but I don’t really care about you or your families.” 

I’d like to particularly compliment Science teacher David Brock on his mask vigilance this year. Of the teachers I’ve encountered with mask-delinquent students, he’s been the best at catching them. There’s a time and place for everything, and now is the time to follow Mr. Brock’s example and help us all stay safe, and hopefully end the ridiculousness of COVID-19.