Writing Switch: Perks of Being a Maskwearer | AspenTimes.com

Writing Switch: Perks of Being a Maskwearer

Benjamin Welch and Sean Beckwith

We’re approaching the six-month mark of CORONAVIRUS, and the early facemask conspiracy theories of “the Constitution says you can’t be required to dress a certain way” aren’t cute anymore. Remember how much it sucked when Food & Wine and, well, everything else got canceled this summer? Ski season is right around the corner. Do you know how long the gondola lines are going to be on a powder day when singles are getting their own bucket? Put the stupid thing on. Only ugly people don’t wear masks.

But hey, we’re the last ones to lecture you about safety like mom making you wear dorky elbow pads at the skate park. So this week we bestow the benefits of facial coverings separate from the reasons you’re tired of hearing about. (Such as not being hospitalized.)


SB: It was only a matter of time before the fashion-conscious made Gucci medical garb. And I’m OK with it. Ties are uncomfortable, and I’m not going to wear an ascot and reveal the person helming the haunted amusement park scheme.

Man bags are purses and I won’t hear otherwise; I have two pairs of sunglasses and they’re both tortoise shell; and I haven’t had a watch since I lost my Nixon in high school. I love sneakers, but don’t have the money/patience to stalk the SNKRS app for a $160 pair of Jordans that, while extremely dope, I can only wear on concrete.

Like sneakers, the facemask is an accessory I can get behind. Bandanas and buffs are sparsely seen other than in the winter. Now, I can give off that disgruntled local vibe in the summer, too.

The only thing is I need to expand my selection because my summer wardrobe features a lot more colors than my snowboard jacket/pants combo. I need options and different patterns but people are buying facemasks with cult-like fervor. I would love a pair of the Duck Camo Nike Air Max 90s, too, but I’m not going to hop on the interweb on release night and hope to get lucky like the 167th caller.

This is why dads buy Asics and Under Armor; you have to be committed to fashion or you’ll end up settling for a pair of Steph Currys or those light blue medical masks.

Incognito mode

BW: Like pulling up an incognito tab before … browsing whatever it is you want to look at, none of my business … throwing a mask on your face is a simple step to wipe all traces of your footprints and maintain your anonymity. Artificial intelligence and 5G, which together are developing both airborne COVID drops and facial recognition technology, are being thwarted by maskwearers. The more we stall on that advancement, the more likely it is we can push the robot invasion off to our grandchildren’s generation. Whew!

Sometimes as I stare out the window — waiting for Sean to walk by packing snowballs to throw at my window, and wishing I didn’t leave the Red Ryder in my childhood bedroom — I contemplate what’s the biggest crime I would morally be OK with getting charged with. So far, truancy sounds like the coolest law to break, and I don’t even know how you do that. If I ever accidentally have a kid, I’m naming them Truancy. No middle or last name. No gender reveal party.

You know how cool it feels to walk around town in baggy snow clothes carrying your board with goggles on and bandana up? (Sidenote: If you ever wear a snowmobile mask, I refuse to ride with you.) It’s great reliving our 17-year-old suburban hip-hop phase. All the tourists are probably thinking, “Uh oh, these guys are total Rugrats.”

When no one can see who you are, you don’t need to be embarrassed about anything. For example, nobody knows it’s “Ben Welch” picking up Sensodyne or Drano or Magnums (ice cream bars) at the gas station. It’s just a random guy who looks like him but you’re not sure because he’s rocking a buff and his pajamas. Plausible deniability is my favorite Bill of Right.

After initially being bitter at quarantine, I’ve learned to love it. Including the 8 p.m. wolf howl on the east end that lasted until mid-June. Also it took an impressive 127 days before I managed to set my hair on fire.

We have it so good now. Nobody gets up in your personal space. Nobody gleeks all over you. Nobody wants to make small talk, because it’s hard enough to shout through fabric without getting it wadded up in your lips. This one-in-a-million universe has finally flipped to benefit the people who’ve always thought “ugh” when someone came within 6 feet of them. When this is over we’re going to look back and realize we were spoiled.

Halfway to the bank

SB: One of the most fun aspects about wearing a mask is they’re typically reserved for stickup men. Every time I pull up or put on my mask while walking into a gas station or liquor store, I get the urge to take all the cash in the register, as well as my six-pack and bag of Doritos.

All I have to do is get the Rona, and I wouldn’t even need a gun.


I’m like Danny Ocean; I can’t walk into a place without casing the joint. Most Aspen banks would only require a Rusty and a grease man. That said, I’m going to need all 11 to clean out The Little Nell and its boutique jewelry stores. I feel like town is ripe, a la the MGM Grand on fight night.

How many home invasions could you get away with while town is overpopulated and undermanned? Hell, if local officials can’t enforce the facemask ordinance, how are they going to stop a few well-planned Red Mountain robberies?

It almost seems like fate with Aspen mulling making people wear masks in every part of town that also conveniently houses banks and luxury hotels. We’re already wearing the most important part of a criminal’s uniform, now all we have to do is take it a step further and act on that “Ante Up” energy.

“Fool what you want: Your life or your jewels!?”

sbeckwith@aspentimes.com bwelch@aspentimes.com

Aspen Times Weekly

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