To start things off, actor Matt Golden wants to make it perfectly clear that he doesn’t work for the Mets anymore and that he doesn’t represent the Mets in any official — or unofficial — capacity. He also wants to make clear that he’s not responsible for any inappropriate Mr. Met GIFs that I’m including in this piece, and that when he was Mr. Met, he made sure to always be professional and family-friendly. For example, Golden does not approve of this GIF of Mr. Met giving a man a blowjob, but I, as the author of the piece, am including it.
All that said, Matt Golden did play the iconic baseball mascot from 1999 to 2011, and if he can spend 12 years with a giant foam baseball on his head, you can certainly wear a tiny piece of cloth over half of your face when you go to the grocery store for a goddamn hour.
Now, with this holiday weekend coming up, a lot of you are probably going to push the limits of this social-distancing thing, as well as some of the other coronavirus rules and guidelines. To be clear, you really, really shouldn’t. Things are not better: They are, in fact, much worse right now, and a huge chunk of that can be directly attributed to people flouting the COVID guidelines during Memorial Day weekend. In reality, the best and most patriotic way to celebrate Fourth of July this year is to stay the fuck home, drink some beer and watch Independence Day. Seriously, the movie is four fucking dollars on Amazon, and it could literally save your life and the lives of your fellow Americans.
But if you choose not to lock yourself inside this weekend, please, please, please wear a goddamn mask. Despite all of these people complaining about it, wearing a mask really isn’t hard at all, and to prove it to you, I’m going to turn it over to former Mr. Met Matt Golden for some mask-wearing tips.
On Being Uniquely Prepared for the Pandemic
The first time that I had to wear a mask outside, when this was all starting, I had a flashback to my time as Mr. Met. I was sweaty, my nose was runny, I couldn’t touch my face and I was feeling claustrophobic. Suddenly, it struck me, “I’ve done this before. I’m an expert at having my face covered, so I can do this. I’m prepared.”
When I was Mr. Met, once I had the big head on, I was stuck in it until I got to take a break. You just had to know your threshold. For me, I couldn’t go much more than an hour without having to take a break, but that was with a very heavy mask. All of that weight was on my neck — none of it rested on my shoulders because there’s a helmet inside of Mr. Met that I would wear to allow the head to turn, so everything was on my neck.
I couldn’t break character either, not in public. Rule number one of being a mascot is to never speak, and rule number two is to never take off your head in public. I mean, Times Square Elmos might disagree, but the point of being a mascot is to build a character that people believe in. It’s not a person in a costume — Mr. Met is Mr. Met. It’s about maintaining that willing suspension of disbelief. We all know there’s a person in that costume, but if you uphold that mystery, the more effective the character will be. I say that, of course, as I’m giving an interview about being Mr. Met.
On How To Breathe Properly with a Mask On
It’s about not over-exerting yourself and knowing what you’re capable of. If you find yourself gasping for air, maybe it’s time to slow down a little bit. You have to prepare for what’s in store. For me, if I was going out for an hour-long appearance, I couldn’t give off all my energy in the first 10 minutes, because then I’d be passing out in front of the fans, which is obviously verboten, and then I’d end up with my picture in The Daily News.
On Getting Claustrophobic
As a mascot, you learn pretty quick if being in a confined space like that is a dealbreaker for you. I understand that with these face masks you have to wear now, there’s an adjustment period — you might feel claustrophobic. But your eyes are still exposed, your head is still exposed, your body is still exposed. It’s just your nose and your mouth.
On Staying Cool While Wearing a Mask
Honestly, when I was a mascot, there was no way to stay cool in there. There was no cooling system whatsoever — you put it on and you knew for the next hour or so, you were going to be really sweaty. You just have to grin and bear it. Mr. Met was always grinning, so I just had to bear it. But with these face masks, you just have to know that you’re going to be a little sweaty and a little tired.
A little will power goes a long way. Doctors and nurses and medical professionals have been doing this for a long time, and I’ve never heard any of them complain about having to wear a mask throughout surgery or an entire day at a hospital. So I think a trip to Trader Joe’s can be handled.
On Whether or Not He’s Ever Gotten Carbon-Dioxide Poisoning (Seriously, a Lot of Dipshits Are Complaining About This)
I never ever got carbon-dioxide poisoning. Sometimes if I didn’t pop an Altoid beforehand I’d suffer from my own halitosis, but no, no carbon-dioxide poisoning.
On What to Do About Your Gross Breath
I could have purchased stock in Altoids and done pretty well on that. Gum is good because it keeps you salivated and it keeps your breath fresh. I also kept a toothbrush and toothpaste at the stadium because if I pre-gamed on Shake Shack, I’d want to get that taste out of my mouth before I donned the costume.
On What to Do If You Get Dizzy
There were times where I did feel overheated, so again, it was about preparing yourself beforehand and knowing how long you were going to be out there. If I did find myself starting to get dizzy, I had to find an enclosed room with air conditioning, drink some water and lie down for a little bit.
But if you’re wearing a face mask and you have trouble breathing, just pull it away from your face and take about 10 deep breaths and you’ll be good to go. As a mascot, I had to be behind closed doors, but as a human being, just stay your required six feet away from people, pull the mask away from your face, sit down, take some deep breaths and then continue on with your day fully masked.
On the Advantages of Wearing a Mask
One of the advantages of wearing a mask is that it gives you this anonymity that we don’t normally have in life. I learned as Mr. Met that, when you have something covering your face, if you mutter something under your breath, no one can read your lips, and that’s a positive thing. I often find myself now scowling at non-mask-wearers, and no one knows what I’m saying.
On Why It’s So Fucking Important to Wear Your Mask
Unfortunately, I think politics is a bigger part of this than people worrying about inhaling carbon dioxide or their health. Lines have been drawn as far as politics go, and people are determining which side they stand on. They’re claiming it’s a First Amendment right to pollute the rest of the country.
In reality, this shouldn’t be political. Yeah, there’s an adjustment period, but I feel like we can handle this. I have confidence. Sure, you have to prepare yourself and you may have to take some deep breaths and, yeah, you might get a little acne from the sweat, just like I did when I was Mr. Met, but a pimple here or there is a small sacrifice for literally saving the world.