Bonjour! So nice to finally meet you.

Guten tag to you. Before we continue, please put on your mask.

It is on.

It’s dangling from one ear.

OK, fine. Happy now?

You’ve just moved it to your other ear.

You French sure are sticklers.

German. And yes. We have done well in fighting Covid-19, in part because we take mask-wearing seriously, so please do your part too.

I do, and so does everyone else I know. For example, the wife ties hers in her hair. So adorable. My brother wears his mask on his wrist, like a sweatband from the ‘80s. And Pete, you know him? Anyway, he’s my neighbor and he wears it with his nose poking out the top. That’s because he breathes with his nose.

I also breathe with my nose. I’m simply asking you to follow WHO and CDC guidelines by wearing your mask across your mouth and your nose.

Oh yeah, I tried that.

And?

And it got really warm. Like when I walked into the Speed-n-Go, I put on the mask all the way and made sure the jerky hole was right over my mouth…

Your what?

My mouth.

No, before that.

My jerky hole?

Yes, what’s that?

It’s a hole for eating jerky.

I don’t think that works.

It definitely works. Just watch…

Please don’t. Oh, you’re showing me already. I didn’t realize you had an unwrapped Slim Jim in your back pocket.

Do French people eat jerky too?

I have no idea; I’m German.

Anyway, when I was in the Speed-n-Go just now, I was looking at the Combos selection, which has been limited lately due to the pandemic, when I said to myself, “During the two minutes I have spent in here with my mask across my face, my cheeks have become uncomfortably warm. I will dangle the mask from one ear instead.” You probably wouldn’t get it. I know the French have a reputation for cool faces.

German. And we have the same faces. There is no face reputation.

And you’re telling me you just keep putting up with the warmth, like for the whole time it takes to fill a Gulp Bucket? French people have Gulp Buckets, right?

I have no idea; I’m German.

Doesn’t really matter. In any case, you just deal with hot cheeks for as long as it takes to fill a Gulp Bucket, which could take upwards of four minutes, depending on whether you get the 96-ounce or 128-ounce size, and also how many layers you get.

Layers?

Yeah, you know, like if you want an Arnold Palmer and cream soda and Mountain Dew together, that would be crazy to get three different Gulp Buckets, right? So you layer them.

But it’s liquid, so doesn’t everything just get mixed… Alright, forget it. The answer is yes, I can put up with mild feelings of warmth on my cheeks.

That’s because it probably doesn’t get too hot in France.

Germany. And it was 87 degrees in Munich yesterday.

Funny, I always associated France with penguins.

Munich is in Germany. And no, France doesn’t have penguins. What I was saying, though, was that we’re only as healthy as the sickest among us.

But doesn’t your nose get itchy?

Yes, sometimes my nose gets itchy.

And?

I keep the mask on and don’t touch my face because I understand that I bear personal responsibility for…

But what if several minutes go by and your nose stays itchy?

I keep the mask on and don’t touch my face.

Look, not sure if you saw this on YouTube, but I was watching this video about Democrats and other dictators trying to take away our rights, and apparently there used to be this place called East Germany where the government was so freedom-hating that…

I am aware. I keep the mask on and don’t touch my face.

Be honest. I won’t even tell any of your friends since I don’t speak French. Don’t you ever pull aside your jerky hole and go in for a scratch?

German. No, I don’t go in for a scratch. And I don’t have a jerky hole.

You should try it. Here, hold still. I can make a jerky hole with your mask still on. Let me just grab my scissors from the car.

You know, it’s been an absolute pleasure, but I really must be getting back.

Wow, is it me, or did it just get harder to breathe in here? Like, much worse than when I try to cough as usual through my jerky hole.

Scheisse.


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