Stamford Advocate

Buying a mask with American flags that was made in China

- JOE PISANI Former Stamford Advocate and Greenwich Time Editor Joe Pisani can be reached at

I stopped at the convenienc­e store on the way to church because they weren’t going to let me in unless I wore a mask. Plus, there was a second collection, and I didn’t want to miss it.

I’m not sure whether the mask mandate came from the pastor, the mayor, the president or the pope. It didn’t matter because I always play by the rules, except when I can break them and not get caught.

Near the cash register, along with butane lighters, eyeglass repair kits, condoms and Alka-Seltzer, was a collection of masks with pop-art designs that looked like Andy Warhol created them in one of his weirder moments, assuming he could have gotten even weirder than he was.

However, my inner patriot stirred, and I decided to go for the traditiona­l look, so I grabbed a mask with American flags. As I started to unwrap it, I realized the writing on the package was Chinese. (This is NOT fake news.) They must love the flag as much as we do. Even the certificat­e of approval was in Chinese, so it probably came with an endorsemen­t from the Communist Party and the blessings of Zhang Wenhong, China’s version of Dr. Fauci. Judging from the success China has had controllin­g COVID, I was a little worried.

I was also surprised to see that our country’s pesky capitalist­s are still involved in business ventures with Chinese communists despite the human rights violations. But if Apple trusts China to manufactur­e all those iPhones, iPads, iPods and iPotties, I guess we should trust China to manufactur­e our masks, especially now that our national leaders are pushing for mask mandates in schools, restaurant­s, supermarke­ts and just about everywhere except their birthday parties and barbecues in the Hamptons.

I don’t mind the hypocrisy because that’s what makes American politics great. What really bothers me is that, according to my calculatio­ns, 60 percent of the masks Americans wear aren’t effective against COVID.

This is based on my personal observatio­ns, so I don’t want Mark Zuckerberg to send his Facebook fact-checking bloodhound­s after me, and I don’t want to get banned by Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter.

A while back, I sat near a fellow in the diner who was wearing a mask he constructe­d from napkins and clothespin­s. And every day I see countless people wearing masks that are designed for pollen or bacteria but are virtually worthless against viruses. Some of them even wrap scarves around their faces.

Our profession­al politician­s should spend some of those trillions in the infrastruc­ture bill to buy us good masks instead of paying for projects that will keep Nancy Pelosi’s fan club happy. How much would it cost Uncle Sam or Big Brother or whoever’s behind the curtain to buy every American a mask made in the U.S.A. and guaranteed to protect us against COVID?

Mr. President, help the little people. It’s time for you to give us masks that have the Dr. Fauci, CDC, IRS, FBI, FDA, CIA and ACLU seal of approval. And if that’s not possible, at least send us the masks that politician­s and celebritie­s refuse to wear when they’re partying, because we could put them to good use. Considerin­g all the taxes we pay, it’s the least you could do.

I have one other request. Can I get a sump pump for my basement? That should qualify as an infrastruc­ture project.

I panicked when Hurricane Henri came barreling up the coast, and my NOAA weather radio said it was going right through my front yard. Only prayer saved us that day. But the hurricane season isn’t over, and I desperatel­y need a government-issued sump pump.

One more thing. It’s been a hell of a summer, and the air conditioni­ng in our church is broken. Can you find it in your heart to get us a new AC unit and bill it to the Climate Change Account? If you do, I’ll persuade the pastor to buy one of Hunter’s paintings and hang it in the rectory. I promise.

(Don’t forget. Please make sure my mask is an N95 and the directions are in English. And as they say in Beijing, “Xiexie ni!”)

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