Get Ready For The Wisconsin Road Trip To Hell This Autumn


Mask or ventilator? Really, which is more uncomfortable?

By Mark L. Taylor
The Commoner Call (8/3/20)

Recently, I was up in Door County for a couple days. Mileage from there to here, 255 miles … a 5-plus hour drive.

I left for home late Saturday afternoon, about 4 p.m. On the way through Sturgeon Bay I stopped for gas. I was the only one wearing a mask. Neither of the two employees nor any of the four other customers who gassed up while I was there were masked. The town was filled with tourists and the gas station was a busy place with people coming from and going to all over the state … and Illinois. 

Down the street, on the way out of town, I passed a bar with a crowded outdoor drinking area that was packed with young people, 3 to 6 elbow-to-elbow at each table. All within three of four feet of each other. No masks. None that I could spot.

I was soon in Brown County, site of huge outbreaks of coronavirus due to the horrible working conditions at area meat packing plants. I drove straight through, saying a little prayer for those abused and poorly paid workers who make it possible for the young people back at that bar to have their brats and burgers.

What’s the supper club special today?

After leaving the busyness of the run through Green Bay and past Appleton it was mostly two-lane highway headed west into the setting sun. It was dinner time and, the parking lots of every single supper club I passed were packed. Not just full … PACKED. Cars were double parked and parked on the shoulder of the roads. Even parked in front of the dumpsters. People were coming and going through the welcoming rustic doors of the lakeside clubs and nobody … nobody … was masked.

I passed a dozen such supper clubs. I passed four or five ice cream and sno-cone stands and they too were PACKED, with people standing in line or chatting away with their ice cream in hand, elbow to elbow. No social distancing and — of course — no masks. 

I stopped at two Kwik Trips and while the harried, worried looking staff were all masked, none of the arrogant and selfish customers were masked, choosing to place each of those workers at risk. (Note to Wisconsin-based Kwik Trip — make masks mandatory and create a safer work space for your workers and customers, like Menards has been doing.)

And that was on just one stretch of highway in Wisconsin that one Saturday evening. Multiply that out and I am going to go out on a limb, and make a prediction: This fall Wisconsin will be a hellscape of illness and death, most of it avoidable, all of it tragic and much unnecessary. The hospitals will be overwhelmed and some will collapse. Having worked in hospitals for 25 years I fear for my old colleagues who will be in the midst of that hell, risking their lives trying to save the lives of people. Many of them … who simply chose … not … to wear … a mask. 

Mask or ventilator? Really, which is more uncomfortable?

Such insanity and selfishness.

Life ‘after’

There are pivot points in history marked by “BEFORE” and “AFTER”. As in “BEFORE” 911 , and “AFTER” 911. The world was “BEFORE” was swept away. 

Now, during these beautiful, lush mid-summer days is the “BEFORE”. We won’t have another summer like this for quite some time … if ever. Many here now will not be here next July, and so much of it is avoidable, but for adolescent acting out against growing up and being a caring adult and taking a simple step to protect oneself and their neighbor.

Mask up, knuckleheads. We are all at risk.

(Commoner Call cartoon by Mark L. Taylor, 2020. Open source and free for non-derivative use with link to )


(Art by Seth L. Taylor, 2020)