Mystery of the masks, solved

In my last post, I was bemoaning having to wear a face mask while hiking and biking. How do those movie bad guys manage to be so athletic wearing masks? The answer, of course, is practice. They train for it.

Kathryn came to my rescue with this explanation. Wearing a respirator — either for industrial work or a fitted one for hospital work — does put extra strain on your lungs and heart. In the US, before you can ask an employee to wear one, you have to send them for a medical exam where a doctor tests them and certifies that they can wear one and work without putting their health at risk. 

Kathryn works in environmental remediation, and keeps track of this stuff for her office. She’s also certified. Getting certified involves a test called a spirometry. You take a deep breath, then blow into a machine which records the forcefulness of your output. The nurse stand there and chants, “Keep going, keep going,” until you lungs feel totally empty and you think you’re about to pass out. And hopefully somewhere in there, the machine dings and reports a satisfactory sample. Then you do it two more times.

Once you’ve gotten by that, if you’re going to do work that actually requires one, you get to be fit-tested with your respirator on. That borders on ritual. The unlucky employee puts on their respirator, and makes sure it fits properly. 

Then the tester breaks open a glass vial of special irritant smoke and waves it around them while they do things that might make their mask unseal like bending over, jumping up and down and smiling. They also read this utterly inane passage about rainbows that was selected by some expert because it contains sounds that move all the possible combinations of your facial muscles while speaking. To an uninformed observer, it looks very like a shaman doing some kind of ritual.

Do professional villains make sure their henchmen are well prepared with all this before sending them out to chase our heroes?! We may never know.

Now the real question: Who needs more to read? I do, that’s for sure! In between biking and farming with my daughter, writing the Wavily Witches Cozy Mysteries (more on that later) and pottering around the house, I also love to read. So here’s a delightful cozy promo in which everything is 99c or less. Enjoy!

PS: On a totally different note, all the books in the Society for Paranormals​​ and the Cozy Tea Shoppe series will be removed from all stores except Amazon during the first week of May. The reason is that I’m signing those books over to a publisher which is pretty big in my personal news department!!! They will be putting all ten books in Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited for an undefined period.

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