Marty’s photo(s) of the day #3408: I took these two self-portraits in the green room last night, moments before going on stage at Eastern Arizona College. As mentioned in my previous “Don’t Get COVID-19 and Die Tour” posts, this was the only in-person show I planned on performing during the pandemic (I’m performing lots of shows via Zoom instead). I took the gig because I had to drive to Arizona anyway, and the school promised a full slate of COVID-19 precautions. Everyone was required to wear a mask—including me.

As anyone who has seen my show can attest: I’m very active on stage—frequently running from side-to-side, dropping to my knees, etc. Unfortunately, there is no way to practice such a performance with a mask on. Sure, I can practice the action, but I can’t practice the high that comes from being in front of an audience.

Less than five minutes into my show, I thought I was going to faint! My mask started sucking in and out, as if I were breathing into a paper bag. I’ve always been a “the show must go on” professional, but this was worse than the times I had been on stage with laryngitis or the flu. Switching from my heavyweight mask to my lightweight mask didn’t help, and I was getting a bit panicky.

Fortunately the theater manager bailed me out—declaring that since everyone in the audience was already several rows back that it would be okay for me to work without a mask. That saved me. Without the mask, I regrouped and put on a full-energy show.

So I’ve learned my lesson. No one knows how long the COVID-19 pandemic will last, but one thing I do know is that I will never again accept a gig if I have to wear a mask on stage.

Today I head back toward Montana, stopping a little north of Moab. It should be a good day for photography.

One more thing: How do you like my long hair? The last time I got it cut was in February, just before heading to New Jersey for a college show. When the pandemic hit, I decided to hold off on a haircut. Now, since my wife likes it, I have vowed not to get it cut until after I get my COVID-19 vaccine (whenever that happens).