“Hi everybody, Ken Burns here. Greg’s back with another damn documentary. It almost didn’t happen, but he was encouraged by a couple of people who offered words of assurance that his films aren’t all THAT stupid and boring. Boy, are they going to be sorry after seeing this.”
Wow! I must be doing SOMETHING right when a man of Ken Burns’ stature agrees to write a blurb introducing my new work of documentarialistic art. Thank you, Ken.
I know it’s becoming pretty obvious that I don’t really come up with any ideas on my own. I just read what other Cycle365-ers write and then turn those things into my own personal challenges. In this case, the originality came from Old Grumbleface. He, his beard, and his grumbly appearance have been the inspiration for a few of my posts in the past. But THIS recent idea of his is so weird and so brilliant at the same time that there was no way I could resist digging into the subject — discarded Covid-19 facemasks.
Old Grumbleface indicated that littered facemasks were getting to be as ubiquitous in his part of the country as long strands of recording tape ripped out of 8-tracks and cassettes used to be all over the country in the 1970’s. My investigation into the matter spanned about six hours — over the course of two days — riding my bike and searching for evidence of this mass-mask-disposal problem in MY State.
As you will see, [spoiler alert] I didn’t have a whole lot of success.
I sure did pass a lot of litter on that gravel road. The top three varieties seemed to be beer cans, McDonald’s cups, and plastic WalMart bags. I also saw a chair, a half-eaten chicken leg, a garden hose, and a certain undergarment that women wear for support. But no facemasks.
Eventually I got back to a paved road and I remembered something interesting. Only a few days ago, The Feeshko told me she saw an article on the internet about a woman who made facemasks out of the cups of a brassiere. “Why didn’t I remember that two miles ago” I wondered? I can’t tell you how tempted I was to turn around, try to find that bra again, and make a hilarious video of me acting all surprised at my amazing double-facemask sighting.
I kept my composure though and pedaled forward — mainly because going back would have required backtracking into the wind.
This morning I was feeling a little guilty about wasting all this webspace for nothing. I didn’t find a single mask — not even a yellow rubber band from a mask. Yet, I resolved to search again today
Yesterday I covered some territory south and west of MY Town. Today I decided to go north and east. It couldn’t be any worse, could it?
My in-depth investigation led me to conclude that discarded facemasks are very rare in Minnesota — so far. But what is the reason for our relatively small population of roadside facemasks? Based on my extensive research, I have a few ideas. I’ll break them down into six bullet points:
-Minnesotans haven’t really taken the facemask thing to heart. I admit, I haven’t been wearing a mask either, but now that I’ve seen our “Very Stable Genius” say he won’t wear a mask, I might start wearing one on principal.
-Minnesotans are intruding on facemask habitat by building more and more roads and housing developments. As a result, facemasks are forced to go into hiding.
-Minnesota predators, such as coyotes, bald eagles, squirrels, white squirrels, and gophers, are hunting the defenseless facemasks into extinction.
-Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing (aka: 3M) is the nation’s largest maker of facemasks. It would be disrespectful to throw out the product of one of the state’s largest employers.
-Minnesotans have found more exciting things to litter — like tires, bras, fast food containers, liquor bottles, banana peels, and paint cans.
-Climate: Minnesota’s sub-zero winters are tough on a poor little facemask. Throw in high humidity and record-high summertime temperatures caused by global climate change and, well, those little things can’t survive out there.