Maskholes, Can You Lay Off The Kids, At Least?

by Amber Leventry
Originally Published: 
Young teenager girl with medical face mask
lakshmiprasad S/Getty

I’m sure you saw the video of Costco Karen throwing a fit in the middle of the store because she was asked, yet refused, to put on her mask—the one that was already hanging off one of her ears—but if not, it’s hella embarrassing and her behavior is totally unnecessary. (Why is it always Costco, by the way? Those tired but steadfast employees deserve raises.)

From the “I feel threatened” guy to the granny having a toddler-sized tantrum at customer service, these grownups are proving that older does not mean more mature. And as if it’s not bad enough that people refuse to wear masks, they are also the assholes who berate the people who choose to wear them for the safety of others. It’s one thing if you want to be pissy at me, an adult, for wearing a mask. Call me a sheep, conspiracy theorist, or socialist all you want; I am totally okay being a socialist, FYI. But leave the kids out of it. No kid or teenager needs or deserves to be berated because you think masks are a violation of your freedom.

You may be wondering who would do that? Maskholes, that’s who — specifically, customers at Mootown Creamery in Berea, Ohio. In a Facebook post, Creamery owner, Andrea Brooks, responded to people who were upset that her teenage employees wear masks while working: “I’ve been trying not to say anything, but it is getting out of control. STOP!!! Stop yelling at these young girls. Stop slamming doors. Stop swearing at them and making a scene. STOP!!! These girls are wearing masks for YOUR protection. They are required by the state to wear them, and they do so with a smile because they care about you and your safety.”

Too many adults are acting like spoiled children. The irony of an “elder” who probably demands respect but can’t give it to a young person who is being responsible isn’t funny here. How did society sink so low that an adult can feel justified screaming at another human trying to do their job, especially if they are a teenager? How have we fallen so far from grace and compassion that it’s easier to harass a child than to just shut the fuck up? I support yelling at kids to get them to stop doing something that is hurting another living being, but yelling at them because they are trying not to hurt you is bullshit. This shouldn’t be a thing.

John Moore/Getty

I wish I could say the mask isn’t about you, but it is. For those of you who can’t see the importance of wearing a mask during the middle of a fucking pandemic caused by an airborne virus that causes respiratory infections that can kill you, then let’s reframe the situation. Someone wearing a mask out of choice or requirement because of their job or the building they choose to enter is doing it for you. These people include teenagers trying to earn some cash and kids who are trying to gain a bit of normalcy while venturing into public spaces after having school, sports, camps, playdates, and every other kid activity cancelled.

None of us love wearing masks. But we do it to protect people from the potential of carrying around a deadly virus that we may not know we have. The sneaky thing about COVID-19 is that symptoms may not show up for days after the virus is contracted or it’s possible to have COVID-19 and never be symptomatic. But if I take my mask-less face out into public and cough, sneeze, or talk my germs all over you and the shit you touch, there is a good chance I could kill you and I don’t want that on my conscience. Even kids understand this and are able to practice common courtesy. I’m not sorry this offends you.

Taking your anger out on someone to intimidate and bully them is gross and abusive. It’s also contradictory. You seem to get a chuckle when my son wears his Iron Man mask into the grocery store on a random Tuesday in May. But the second a mask is used for health reasons you get all ragey?

So maybe you don’t believe the scientific benefits of mask use or believe that the virus even exists. Think of a mask as part of someone’s uniform, fashion statement, or none of your fucking business. Would you like someone yelling at you for wearing a particular style of pants, color, or stick up your ass? No, you wouldn’t. Because when you left the house for the day, you felt good about your floral top and the piece of oak between your butt cheeks. You probably tsk, tsk at teens with too many piercings and “weird” haircuts. I would bet that you also clutch your pearls or wallet when a teen swears or wears a hoodie. The maskholes who refuse to wear a mask or only so do because they are forced to if they want to get groceries or ice cream, are generally the ones with lots of biases and ignorance weighing down their ability to be nice.

Right, back to being nice. If you see a kid wearing a mask in public what is it to you, and how is it different than a kid with blue hair? Maybe you shouted at the blue-haired kid too, but I suspect you didn’t. Maybe it’s the idea that blue hair doesn’t challenge your privilege and a mask does.

Look, I think you should wear a mask because we are in the middle of a pandemic. You think it’s your right not to. I wear my mask and so do my kids. There are zero reasons why you should be upset seeing others, particularly kids, doing this. We don’t care if we are wrong. We would rather wear a mask, even if it is uncomfortable, than risk the far outweighing consequences of not doing so.

Perhaps masks aren’t a great look, but harassing kids isn’t fashionable either. Knock it off.

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