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Advocate columnist Smiley Anders

Allow me to explain why I get irritated when folks reject wearing masks during the COVID-19 pandemic:

I've been on oxygen 24/7 for the past year or more, due to a form of COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). It's thought of as a smoker's ailment, but I've never smoked.

At home I'm hooked up to an oxygen generator, with a long plastic tube carrying air to my nostrils. When I go out I have a portable battery-powered generator that plugs into the car for trips.

I don't go out much since the pandemic (Lady Katherine does the shopping), but when I do I'm appalled at the folks disregarding mask wearing and social distancing, the two main recommendations for getting the virus under control.

The anti-maskers cite "personal freedom" and doubt COVID-19 is really that big a deal.

It is a big deal to me; if I get it, I will die.

So here's my message to those who don't mask up:

It's not about liberty, and you're not Patrick Henry — you're just foolish … and dangerous. 

Sister and the knife

I should explain, in case you're in a denomination that doesn't practice communion: In services where bread and wine are shared, the "host" is only a symbol for bread; it's a thin, round sliver of tasteless stuff that usually dissolves quickly.

Martin St. Romain, of Raceland, says, "At 6 years old, when I made my first communion at St. Joseph Church in Thibodaux, the host got stuck on my upper palate.

"I got up, walked to Sister Elizabeth and told her. She went to the rectory next door and got a round-edged knife, came back while I waited and dislodged the host like nothing had happened.

"She must have had some previous experience with this kind of situation."

Going electric

Bo Bienvenu, of Prairieville, says, "Discussions of boucheries reminded me of the many cochon de laits I attended at my wife’s grandparents' house in Marksville, presided over by Jules Bordelon, a master of the craft.

"The cage holding the pig was attached directly to a chain hung from their oak tree. 'Pop' turned the pig when necessary and held it in place for a specific time with a well-seasoned, hand-sharpened stick slid through the cage and stuck in the ground.

"At the proper time the pig was flipped, and the process repeated for the 10 hours needed to cook the pig this way.

"Eventually, my father-in-law poured a slab and built a fireplace with a rack out front to hold an electric motor to slowly turn the pig automatically.

"In strict confidence, but with utmost sincerity, Pop told me, 'Mais, ever since they invented electric motors, pigs don’t taste the same.'”

Going bowling

Elliott W. Atkinson Jr., of Baton Rouge, addressed the relocation of the LSU-Missouri football game:

"May I humbly suggest that a new tradition begin between Missouri and LSU called the 'Topsy-Turvy Bowl.' The winner gets an engraved upside-down bowl."

Happy New Year

Lee Buquoi addresses the Wednesday suggestion by Algie Petrere that we call a halt to this year and move on to a happier one:

"I’m with Algie Petrere! I nominate November 1 to be the New Year's Day for 2021. The sooner we leave 2020 the better."

Special People Dept.

Ada Bateman Rockford, of Walker, celebrates her 90th birthday Thursday, Oct. 8. She is a Baton Rouge native.

Jumping the gun

Duane Smith, of Port Allen, says, "I posted on Facebook that this hurricane is my fault, because a week ago I decided hurricane season must be over and pulled all those 'small loose objects' out of the shed.

"To which a cousin immediately replied: 'Premature evacuation!'"

Head games

Cotton Clements, of Westwego, says, "One day I was checking the seafood at the New Orleans French Market.

"A woman, apparently from out of town, asked me what I was looking at.

"I told her, 'It's shrimp.'

"She replied, 'Shrimp? My God, that shrimp has a head on it!'

"I said, 'Yes ma'am, it does.'

"She called out loud to her husband and said, 'Honey, come see this! It's shrimp with heads!'" 

Write Smiley at He can also be reached by mail at P.O. Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA 70821. Follow Smiley Anders on Twitter, @SmileyAndersAdv.