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Smart Tony: Mask Mandates is Science, Even in the Sky, Even when You’s Fly

Smart Tony was perplexed. “How could one judge, one puny little judge who ain’t half as smart as me and who ain’t even no doctor or nothing, how could she say that now no one got to wear masks on an airplane and on trains and subways?” he asked Joe in the Morning. “It don’t make no sense.”

Smart Tony wasn’t wearing his mask because he couldn’t breathe in it, so that was ok, but he wore it when the TV cameras rolled and when people were looking at him, and that’s really all that counted. He was a man of science, and sometimes especially when lots of people were looking, he’d wear two masks, just like he told everyone to do, although (“Shhh, don’t tell no one.”) he usually poked holes in the inside one, which was ok since he was Smart Tony.

Joe in the Morning was sympathetic to Tony’s plea. “The Trumpists are trying to take over the country, which is why they are fighting masks.” he said. “One thing I like about masks; if someone is wearing one, especially all alone in the car or outside, I know which way they’re voting in November.”

“Yea,” Smart Tony agreed. “Like I said, it’s all about science! Them COVID bugs love public transportation. That’s how they came from China in the first place, and that’s how they like to travel. They love them airplanes. One smart doctor from Hopkins she said to me, she said, ‘Smart Tony, COVID is a respiratory virus, which means it travels through the air.’ And I’m like, if it travels through the air, then why in God’s name would we stop using masks on airplanes, which is how things travel through the air. That don’t make no sense.”

Rachel in the Meadow was even more emphatic about the scientific necessity of overturning the judge’s ruling and keeping mask mandates everywhere and anywhere. She certainly knew her science!

“If people stop wearing masks, they'll stop thinking about COVID day and night,” she said. “And that’s going to be bad for us in November, bad for our party, bad for our ratings.”

“Well, Rachel in the Meadow,” he said to her. “Not everyone is so smart about science as you and me.”

Masks meant everything to Smart Tony. Right from the start of the worst pandemic in the history of the Universe, the misinformation squad was trying to discredit masks. They constantly tried to use facts against the poor masks, saying stuff (which was all true, but who cared?) like: every randomized trial shows that masks don’t reduce death or hospitalization; all historical evidence that shows that masks never slowed infection or reduced death during a viral epidemic; comparative studies all show that areas with mask mandates have no fewer hospitalizations or deaths than areas without mandates once demographic factors like age and poverty and medical habits are factored in; and even in nursing homes and long term care a half million people died of COVID despite a well-enforced mask mandate for 2 years.

“Those are all facts, that ain’t science,” Smart Tony said to his maid. “If we rely on facts all the time, then we’ll all just get confused and think nothing works to stop the COVID. Like, just because COVID don’t live on hands now the misinformers are saying that hand washing don’t stop the COVID, but I say it will stop the COVID, and who you going to believe, misnformers or me, Smart Tony, the guy who knows more about science than even Bill Nye the Science Guy?”

“You know what you need to do, Smart Tony?” his maid suggested. “Gather all the most sciency people in America, all the people who get money from you for their research and their salaries, all the good people at big Pharma the big Universities, get together and draft a statement that disputes the faulty evidence put forth by the judge who brought down the mandates. And if that doesn’t work, then just make sure to keep scaring people that they’ll all die if they don’t wear masks. Your friends on MSNBC and CNN always help you with that approach. People believe that more than they believe facts!”

So, Big Tony and his handler beckoned the best of the best, the smartest of the smartest, the scienciest of the scienciest. They gathered in a humble Four Seasons Hotel in DC and had 3 meals a day catered by Pfizer. It was tough work, so they only met three hours a day and used the rest of the time to eat, think and enjoy the hotel amenities, including the spa, sponsored by Roche. CNN covered the event, showing only how hard they were working, and after each day Jake and pals interviewed these very brave and devoted smarties who had saved the world once and, in the light of a right-wing judge who blocked the world’s only defense against flying COVID, were planning to save it yet again.

“Heroes in every sense of the word,” Jake told his audience. “Where would we be without them? Likely all dead and six feet under, six feet being the proper burial distance to avoid ground COVID infiltration. And likely we’ll all die again, die in a car, die in a train, die in a boat, die in a plane, all because of an irresponsible judge more influenced by politics and misinformation than the science behind saving lives with masks. As these scientific heroes gather in a small room in DC, we all have to ask, what is going through their minds, and how will they get us out of this bind? Will masks return, or will the forces of reactionary anti-science win the day and lead to endless slaughter? We’re all at the edge of our chairs.”

At the conference, the experts talked science, ate steak, and discussed the anti-masking edict that condemned humanity to a peril not seen since the days of the dinosaurs. All the big names were there. In addition to Smart Tony and Scotty Formerly of Pfizer and FDA, there was Dr. Washayourhands from the University of Washington, Dr. Duckfromantivaxers from Duke, Dr. Hideathome from Hopkins, and Dr. Y’allbeieveanyshitwetellya from Yale.

“My grandson is very upset that I’m not on TV as much anymore,” said one of them. “Since the masks went away, people aren’t as interested in what I have to say, and now my grandson has to suffer? The kids are mocking him! Scientifically, if we reinstate the mask mandate, then more people will think about COVID, more people will think about me, I’ll be on TV more, and that will make my grandson happy. If that’s not a scientific reason for masking, I don’t know what is!”

They all agreed and congratulated him for his heroic sciency ways.

Then the next expert spoke. “If people stop wearing masks on planes, think of the damage it will cause! Everyone will have to shave again, wear makeup, they’ll eat more, and the ugly ones, well, I don’t even want to think what they’ll go through once people see their faces. It’s shameful! How can people be so cold as to take masks away from them?”

They clapped for the humanism and science behind her statement.

The another got up. “Everyone is making such a stink that masks aren’t necessary and that they may not work and that everyone should have a personal choice. Well, does Southwest give people a personal choice about what snack bag to get? Or does everyone get the same crappy snack bag with a few pretzels and crackers, and we all have to eat it, and we get thirsty and by then the beverage service is over and it’s like pulling teeth to get the damned stewardess to get me a drink! So, why are we making such a fuss about masks on planes when all those issues are much more dangerous and upsetting? It makes no scientific sense!”

People applauded. “It happens on United Airlines too!” yelled one prominent academic expert. “Terrible snacks!” He too understood the science behind masking and snacks.

Smart Tony stood and addressed the crowd. “It is clear from all of you’s experts that science favors, even demands, that we reinstitute the mask mandate in the air. Our Science President—the same guy whose first executive action was to mandate masks in national parks and streets even if you’re all alone—has promised to over-rule the judge and make Americans keep wearing masks everywhere, even in the toilet, even during sex, even when you sleep! I mean, think about it, when you’re sleeping the COVID bug ain’t taking a nap, so we can’t take none neither. We’s smart scientists, we know that once you take away masks on planes, then it’s a domino effect, and soon enough they’re gone in cars, on mountains, in bathrooms. Then what? People will forget about COVID, forget about us. God forbid, they may even not want the fifth and sixth booster! Then what about my patent and my stocks? What about my airtime on CNN? So much is being threated by having no mask mandate on planes! How can any science-loving smartie think any different?”

“They can’t,” all the academic scientific experts shouted in unison. “They ain’t sciency like us and the Science President. They don’t got smarts like us.”

And that’s when Smart Tony realized that there was only one course of action to take, and he told Joe in the Morning about it on air the next day.

“Here’s what we come up with, Joe in the Morning,” Smart Tony said. “Anti-maskers will do anything to convince you that masks don’t work, even barrage you with facts. And facts, Joe, they ain’t what we need in a time of crisis. We need faith. And fear. Faith in us, fear of the COVID. And we need to believe masks work, because if we don’t believe in them, then they ain’t gonna work. It’s kind of like most medicines; they only work because you think they do. Kind of like praying. Or cheering for the Knicks. So, it’s time we go with science and do the only thing we can do to make sure that the judge’s dumb and stupid and idiotic ruling don’t hang around.”

“And,” asked Joe in the Morning. “What must we do?”

“It’s like this,” Smart Tony said. “When some jerk used to rib me on the streets of Brooklyn, we just beat the shit out of that person. That’s the law of the jungle, that’s science. So, cause we can’t go beating up people like the judge, we do the next best thing. We say to that judge, ‘Hey judge moron, shut-up-a your face, or we’ll shut it up for you,’ then we fire that judge, reassign her to Guantanamo to do all her misinformation anti-science judging there with them terrorists, and we do the same to every judge we don’t like. Then we ban anyone who says anything bad about the mask, and we jail anyone who says they don’t work. Cause they do work. They work in lots of ways that every expert at our meeting showed us, and if an expert says so, then it’s true. How can you argue with that?”

Morning Joe agreed, and even though he wasn’t wearing a mask in the studio—just like Smart Tony—he believed in masks, and that was good enough for Smart Tony.

“It comes down to this Rachel in the Meadow,” he said later. “You should have a choice to wear a mask or not wear one as long as you choose to wear one, and if you don’t, you got a choice of going to jail or getting a good left hook in the jaw. I’m all about choice, Rachel, and all about science. And if that ain’t science, then what the hell is?”

“Then what say you to Americans about the end of the mask mandate on planes?” Rachel asked him.

Tony looked into the camera. “This is all about saving democracy and using science to save lives, and unless we get rid of both of those things—democracy and science—how the hell are we going to save either?”

The audience all smiled, happy to know that smart experts were taking care of them, and all the people who watched Joe in the Morning and Rachel in the Meadow and Jake on CNN vowed to keep wearing the masks, “in a car, in a plane, in a boat, in a train, masks are good always, so stay in your lane."

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