Several months ago, I was told that our local School Board was having a meeting and that some parents were going to show up and protest against the extension of the mask mandates.
I said, “Okay, I’m in.” Enough with all this posting at the Daily Sceptic. I’ll actually practice what I preach and speak truth to power – even if it was through a mask and people probably couldn’t understand me.
Well, sure enough, I was the only mask protestor who showed up. I’d knocked out a a little speech, using some of the arguments I make in my posts at the Daily Sceptic. Alas, I was told by the School Board secretary that I only had three minutes to talk.
“But I’m the only one here. Can’t I get four minutes?” I asked.
I wish I could say I wowed my audience with my Churchillian oratory. In fact, I made a fool of myself. My excuse was that I was discombobulated by Nurse Ratched (a.k.a., the Board secretary) hollering out “One minute!” as she looked at her stop watch. Then “Two minutes!” The Board was serious about that time limit. Rules are rules after all.
I should have just said, “Screw it,” but instead I simply stopped in mid sentence when my 180 seconds had expired, put my unfinished speech in my pocket and went home.
“How did it go?” my wife asked. “Ah, great,” I said. “Looks like you’ll be wearing your mask for a couple more months.”
Here I should note that my wife teaches high school English in this same school system. We have a six year-old and a 10 year-old, who would also be wearing these germ-spreaders for a couple more months.
Skip forward a couple months and, lo and behold, I learned that I’d have to attend another school board meeting. This was because my wife has just been named “Teacher of the Year” at her school.
As it would not be good if the husband of the Teacher of the Year was a Mask Non-Conformist, I begrudgingly put on a mask when I entered the school board building.
As it turns out, the Board was in Executive Session, so all the guests had to sit in the lobby before the meeting proper commenced. While twiddling my thumbs, I couldn’t help but notice that half the principals and school system employees who have to attend these meetings were not wearing their masks.
My mask was in its usual place – on my chin – when we finally got called into the meeting. Again, I saw the same school board members, Superintendent of Education and the Board secretary – all safely masked up. Not wishing to embarrass my wife, I pulled my mask all the way over my lower lip.
My wife and two other teachers got their certificates for being Teachers of the Year, and then something strange happened. The board and Superintendent wanted to have pictures made with the honorees. For some reason, everyone pulled their masks off for the photo shoot.
It took all the willpower I could summon to not scream out, “Citizen’s arrest! Citizen’s arrest!”
I’d brought my two small children to the event and I almost told them, “Quick. Get out of the building. Danger!”
Instead, I just sat there bemused. My bemusement grew, when after the photo shoot, the board members returned to their board tables and continued the meeting – sans masks.
Heck, maybe the board members had listened to my spill three months earlier; maybe my oration had helped them overcome their fears. Maybe I’d done some good after all.
I also had this thought: Maybe the leaders of this school system didn’t really believe all the ‘settled science’ they’d mandated for thousands of students and hundreds of teachers, who had to wear those stupid things seven hours every day for two-plus years.
I don’t know how my wife became Teacher of the Year when she probably couldn’t breathe half the time she was conjugating verbs, or teaching students Orwell’s 1984.
Actually, my wife didn’t teach Orwell’s novel, which I think is now banned. Suffice it to say, a literature teacher in 2022 does not become Teacher of the Year by teaching 1984.
A few weeks later, the School Board finally rescinded the mask mandate. Just like no teacher or student ever got a serious case of Covid with the masks, nobody has had a serious case post masks.
And I still hold the distinction of being the only parent in Troy, Alabama who spoke out against the masks. True, ’twas a terrible speech, but I muffled my way through it.
And the School Board didn’t hold it against me as they later honored my sweet wife, who really deserves a Wife-of-the-Year certificate for putting up with a husband who keeps trying to spread a little scepticism.