The new year usually means out with the old and in with the new.

Unfortunately for Ohioans, one thing that stayed when the calendar hit 2021 is the state’s mask mandate. It’s been months since we first started covering our countenances and in that time I’ve found some favorites.

So here’s my Top 5:

No. 5 — The Turtle

I think we can all relate to this one. A last-minute dash into the store for that forgotten item turns into a frantic search for your mask, any mask.

And as you walk into the store with your facial features showing to the world, and more importantly the other customers and workers, all you can do is pull your shirt up under your eyes.

It’s a quick fix, that can work in a pinch.

But some rely on this too much or think they’re beating the system as they walk out of the store like John Bender with their fist in the air.

For those of us that see the turtle put to use, we may wish to take our chances with the Rona, rather than see your bellies.

No. 4. — The Patriot

This is one of my personal favorites. All those flags and logos on everyone’s masks gives you an automatic tell about the person.

For me a couple of years ago I had an Ancestry.com DNA test done and I’ve gone on a quest to purchase a face gaiter with a flag from every country around the world where my ancestors once laid their heads.

I’ve noticed others have taken advantage of the mask mandate to also show their love of everything from sports and schools to causes and countries.

The perfect example is local businessman Victor Pham.

During his recent pilgrimage that saw him walk from his business on East Second Street here in Defiance to the University of Michigan Medical Center, he donned a mask with the “Stars and Stripes.”

Pham, if nothing else, is passionate about his faith, his family and his country and he proudly displays those affections.

And like thousands of others, I stayed up and cheered when he completed his journey in the wee hours of Tuesday morning.

No. 3 — The Double-take

When this whole pandemic thing started the double-take made me chuckle.

When the mask mandate was first handed down from on high, I mean Columbus, it stated residents needed to have face coverings and many Ohioans showed their creativity.

At first glance these sheer masks look like any other. But upon closer inspection the see through, fish-net type masks look like something found on High Street not your local shopping center.

Now, the mask mandate has been reworded stating “a facial covering (mask) shall be made of a cloth material or comparable material ...”

Although cute at first, the time for the double-take is over.

No. 2 — The Bomb Shelter

No, it’s not a horror movie or one of those safety spots they showed before the feature films at the beginning of the Cold War.

It was 2020 and now 2021 and if you have ventured back out into the world you’ve more than likely seen the Bomb Shelter.

Ohioans that wear these bad boys are in full out survival mode.

They have stopped tear gas and Agent Orange so you know the Rona doesn’t stand a chance against these facial coverings that feature thick goggles and breathing respirators that are strapped on to your head with belts and buckles.

No. 1 — The Right Stuff

The top spot goes to any mask that is worn and worn correctly.

I don’t believe any of us enjoy the mandate and it’s thrown a monkey wrench into our way of life. But if your mask isn’t “... fully covering the person’s nose, mouth and chin,” when you’re in public, it should be. No matter your thoughts, you’d hate to be the reason a business gets shut down or someone loses a life because of your fashion pride.

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