Real men in Cayucos do not wear masks

Dell Franklin

Editor’s Note: The following series, “Life in Radically Gentrifying Cayucos by the Sea,” to be posted biweekly includes the notes, thoughts, and opinions of an original American voice: author Dell Franklin. 


I was walking Wilbur around 7:30 in the morning and approached a lot where a rugged looking man around 40 on a growling backhoe loader was carving out dirt for future construction of a house, when another rugged looking man around 40 pulled up in a huge pickup truck and got out and shook hands with the man who had gotten off his machine, and said, “How you doing during this coronavirus bullshit? What a joke, huh? Goddam stupid masks.”

I don’t know what the other man said, but they were immediately into some serious grousing. Wilbur and I moved on by, but their tone of voice and attitude was obvious—“Real Americans believe this coronavirus is bullshit, and Governor Newsom’s policies are dictatorial, and the pussy dems started all this crap and taking away our economy. And freedom means nobody’s telling me to wear a goddam mask!”

Am I supposed to feel like a sissy boy because I wear a mask when I enter any store? Two of the biggest, toughest bruisers I know in town—one a former All American water polo player and college coach; and a college basketball player who controlled rebounds like an enforcer—wear masks when they hang out mornings down on the seawall drinking their coffee. Pete and Nick.

But I guess they’re not real men, and are possibly looked upon by the real men who don’t wear masks as scaredy cats. Maybe the real men take their cues from President Trump, a real man who had bad feet during Vietnam and refuses to wear a mask because he feels it emasculates him in front of his ardent admirers who see him as a symbol of tough guy American masculinity.

Or maybe a mask looks buffoonish, contrasting with Trump’s power ties and immaculate suits and fluffed up hair and man-tan.

The other day I ran into long-established businesswoman Audrey, and brought up this subject. She said she wore a mask into the post office and a local maskless lady in real estate whom she’s known for decades and has always been on good terms with, cast her a filthy look when spotting her, and stomped out without returning her friendly greeting.

I guess Audrey’s  a, well, I can’t all her a ….., but, maybe Audrey, who has always showed me a lot of spine and spirit, is, well, weak, a frightened, obsequious follower of Governor Newsom’s dictatorial decrees.

Shame on you, Audrey! Better take off that mask in Cayucos if you don’t want to gain a reputation as a weak-sister, a bleeding heart lib, a person on the wrong side of freedom.

But I guess little microscopic Cayucos is just like the rest of the country—torn between wearing and not wearing masks to show everybody where they stand politically.

I am not an example of ignoring this kind of nonsense. The other day in Spencer’s Market a maskless guy called to me in a very friendly manner by name and came charging over with the offering of a handshake, and I stopped him cold with a poisonous stare. I said nothing, held the stare, and he turned and walked off and probably hates me. And at first I felt self-righteously justified about what I did, but, later, I chastised myself for being just another politically demented asshole and felt miserable about what I’d done.

I should have offered a bumping fist. That’s what I usually do out in the open air, where I never wear a mask, but never walk downtown or along the seawall during the day because this area is teeming with maskless groups, mostly young and under 60, some waiting in long, long lines at eateries, taking over.

I suppose we should just allow the maskless young and healthy hordes to forge on, buying and selling and eating and schlepping and intermingling as close as they can be to each other, while us old fossils are reduced to creeping along the fringes. It is our duty as geriatrics to become mostly masked outsiders, and presumably weak. And we are weak—physically.

But, mentally, emotionally, we are still children of survivors of the Great Depression, and we’ve heard about our huge families not having enough to eat, wearing hand me downs (seven kids in my mother’s family) and no help from a government and country stripped of everything for over a decade.

If we have to go a year living the way we have for four months, or even longer, we’ll suck it up and deal with it, while those much younger than us can try and stay healthy in the work places and play places while the pandemic surges all around them.

Good luck. Business before death. Tough guys don’t wear masks.

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5 Comments about “Real men in Cayucos do not wear masks”

  1. Fretman says:

    First of all, even Politico is favorable about Sweden. 2nd, you have not disputed the fact that Dell misrepresents the conversation. Third you cannot compare a surgeon in a hospital to someone walking down the street. On the internet you can find all sorts of mask articles pro and con. Lastly trickle down works, everyone knows and that’s why businesses are given tax breaks as it stimulates employment.

  2. Fretman says:

    Dell, you said he said he said real Americans, not real men. Big difference. BTW Do you even read these comments? What he is saying that people who understand limited government, constitutional protections and get their information from non mainstream sources know that that masks offer limited protection, infection and mortality rate models have been proven wrong and Sweden has successfully taken a completely different path. The economy has been ruined, people who are retired and living on investments are hosed and the fatalities and suicides due to lockdown and social isolation are estimated to be very high. Conservatives have been saying for years balance the budget so if we need a fiscal stimulus it will not be watered down by already destroying the value of the dollar and lets not send all of our manufacturing to China. Conservatives are right about a lot of things and you would benefit greatly by listening and understanding their policy positions.

    1. bd says:

      Sweden? I don’t believe you are up on your statistics. Sweden’s death rate per capita is very high, and judging it a success takes a particular lens through which I tend to not view the world. California had a surplus going into this crises, and it’s gone poof. We were very well capitalized, a balanced budget means nothing when an economy has to entirely shut down. Your head needs to come out of the dark, myopic, conservative hole in which so many rather hide than face change, and start embracing facts. For the last 40 years, and in particular the last 20, we have had live experiments in “Conservative” boasts, fact bending, economics and governing, and the results are very clear. Trickle down economics is a hoax. Conservatives do not care about balanced budgets, but only about who does the spending and if the receivers are not poor and of color. Climate change is very real, and real estate hacks and hustlers and hangers on should not govern our country. Masks have proven effective and if you read real press and real news, you would have seen the statistics. Why do surgeons wear masks when operating? It’s not because they hope to not get sick. It is because they do not want to pass bacteria or viruses to their patients. REAL MEN AND WOMEN THINK FOR THEMSELVES, READ AND EVALUATE REAL NEWS; NOT LOOK TO BE TOLD WHAT TO THINK BY BOBBLE HEADS ON TV AND A.M. RADIO.

      1. Fretman says:

        I am well aware of the statistics. They dont tell the whole story on Sweden. I did a big study on surgical masks and I read that they are more useful in protecting the surgeon from you. Conservatives do care about spending, the budget is controlled by Dems here so if there is a problem it’s theirs. Maybe if you put your ideological blinders aside you could see the truth.

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