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Thanks, but I’ll Stay Home

If the new normal means struggling to eat food through a manual mask hole, I’ll pass

I wasn’t alive to watch the Wright brothers lift off from a runway, or see a lightbulb fill with electricity for the first time, but history is made every day. May I introduce to you: This mask, which I can’t stop thinking about. The idea, as demonstrated in a video that NBC Dallas-Fort Worth shared to Twitter, is that every time you’re ready to take a bite, you squeeze a trigger casually held in one hand while you eat. The trigger is attached to a long plastic cord, which runs up to the mask itself. It looks more like an IV tube than a dining accessory, but that’s fine. The mask’s rubber mouth hole hinges open so you can frantically shove food into your face before shutting it again. These are the inventions I’ll tell my kids about some day.

But I have some questions. Is it machine-washable? Will everyone else be wearing one too, or do I have to go through this alone? I haven’t gotten a haircut in three months, and I gave up on shaving weeks ago, but I don’t know if I can handle the indignity of returning to my favorite restaurant looking like the world’s largest, messiest catfish.

If this is the new normal, I have more practical concerns than looking like Pepe the Frog’s hungry human brother. Is it possible for the mouth to, uh, open a little wider? Even in the perfectly choreographed video, our friend fights with his mouth hole, turning his fork until he can squeeze his lunch through. He seems to leave a small blob of mashed potato on the rubber opening as his fork enters The Chamber. He looks down in dismay to see if maybe he’s also dropped a bit of chicken cutlet into his lap (he has). By the end of the very short clip, he looks like, maybe, he’s ready to cry. I relate. Even on my best day, sans-mask, I end up with a smorgasbord of the day’s food speckled across my clothes.

It’s going to take some magic for me to get anything through the rubber gates of this thing. Tacos? Sandwiches? A thick, juicy burger? Sorry, no, I’m having soup for lunch again. This is not an ice cream-eating mask. There will be no pizza here. These foods don’t fit into The Dungeon, we don’t eat them anymore. Is this the “new normal” I’ve been waiting for? Does this mask come in forest green?

Until I get some answers, I think I’ll just eat at home.