We had just parked the car, and, as usual, I strapped on my mask to enter the restaurant. Once my family and I reached the front door, I noticed something weird.

My ruggedly handsome face was the only one of the triumvirate of us with a mask on it.

My wife, who’s been vaccinated, was totally freeballin’. Like she might as well have been running around in a bikini. Huh, I thought, keeping my big, dumb mouth shut. That’s odd, but OK. And my 9-year-old’s gorgeous little visage was also buck nekkid. This is the same kid who up until this point had been deathly afraid of COVID, not because my wife and I in any way scared him about it but because he somehow gets a hold of news headlines every morning on his iPad. His fear tells us that he hasn’t been reading Fox News or anything equally fake, a plus. The downside: freaking out at Target because too many people are in the aisles. #goodtimes #goodtimes


I just went about my business. I ordered my food at the counter with my mask on, which I’m sure the masked counterperson appreciated, maybe, and I kept my mask on the three times I got up from my seat to order more wine at the counter. Like an alcoholic. Snippets of the conversation that I did not want to have with my family at this chain pizza joint had popped up a couple of times recently and not all while entering a restaurant (once was a trip to Target).

The first time I raised the por-qué-no-mask? question to her, my wife flatly said, “I’m vaccinated,” probably while juggling chainsaws and knives — don’t quiz me on the specifics. Our son had bought into her reasoning because of course he did. As my mom always said about Nonna, my dad’s mom, “If both of us are drowning, I’d better learn to swim real fast.” It’s the same for my family. My son is a complete Mama’s boy. Maybe this is a good thing. I wouldn’t know because I’m not worried about it. No way. No, sir. *sniffles*

I’m also not too worried about the little fella catching the COVIDs. He’s a child, and children don’t seem to be as susceptible to the virus as we adults are. I’ve also decided to stop fretting over my wife. I’m just gonna wash my hands for 20 seconds of her health and hope for the best. She and I both know about the variant. Delta, they’re calling it. We also know that if you’re vaccinated against the first version of the virus, you should be good to keep this Delta at bay. So let all us vaxxers start making out in public, right?

Sounds great, but that would severely cut in on my full-time job: virtue signaling.

That’s basically what’s going on here. I’m not proud of it. I’m actually feeling quite the opposite. Can I stop? That’s a negatory, Ghost Rider. I suppose the anger I’ve felt every minute since the days after the election — when The Former Guy did not gracefully concede and instead told a lie so big that it is reshaping legislation across the country to further discriminate against poor people — just bubbles up. The boring part is that I can get away with it. I’m a heteronormative white guy. Wearing a Black Lives Matter T-shirt to Target or masking up when I probably don’t need to is easy. It’s not like I’m petite or Black or have rainbow-colored hair or anything.

Maybe I’m just looking for a fight. All of that anger needs an outlet, and crushing pizza, like, every week is only making me a chubbier, heavier-breathing culture warrior. Gonna need to be in good shape when an all lives matter asshole comes after me, which is bound to happen — not only do we live in North Fort Worth, but our house is near Saginaw/Keller. This part of Tarrant County is about as red as it comes. It’s always been this way, but when we moved here in 2007, stuff like red-states/blue-states was just esoteric slop. Now it’s life or death. Not even my mask can help with that.

My immediate and extended family survived COVID (praise Buddha), and most of them are staunchly conservative. A vast majority of us are also vaccinated. I’m also guessing that a vast majority of us will line up for Shot No. 3 next year. As big of a virtue signaling jerk as I am, I’m pretty sure I won’t still be masking up at that point. My BLM and Pride shirts, I will continue wearing them until I die.

Hopefully of old age.

And not tomorrow from some Open Carry jackass at Target. — Anthony Mariani


This editorial reflects the opinions of the author and not necessarily the Fort Worth Weekly. The Weekly welcomes all manner of political submissions. They will be edited for clarity and factuality. Please email Editor Anthony Mariani at


  1. At least you admit that your continued mask wearing is virtue signaling. Why not double signal and sport the deuce. After all, Fauci once said that two is better than just one. Your face, your choice.