Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2019  Vol. 18 No. 1
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If You Must Smoke While Wearing Your Influenza Mask

It is all very well to use an influenza mask. But what if you want to smoke? Edward T. Duncan has supplied the answer.

First, buy two corn-plasters at a drug store. You may not see the relationship between a corn-plaster and the influenza. Wait a minute. Hasn’t the plaster an opening for a corn? Well, that hole can be made to fit a cigar or cigarette. Paste one of the plaster on the inside of the mask and the other on the outside, as shown in the picture. Extend the hole of the outside one clear through the mask. The other plaster is put on merely for beauty; it provides symmetry.

Influenza mask modified for cigarette.`
  Popular Science, May 1919.

When you draw on your cigarette, all the little germs hovering around take advantage of the change and try to get in. But when they have gone through the fire of your cigarette they become purified, and are quite harmless by the time they get to your lungs.

When you are not smoking, the open plaster is plugged with a cork. This is to conform to the law in localities where the authorities think that the influenza can be cured by legislation.

You must remember not to stick out your tongue, and to be very careful when to sneeze lest you blow out the cork and let in germs.

Duncan, the inventor, at first thought of having an outlet for the exhaust smoke, but he found out that such refinements would violate the law.

On second thought, he concluded that there was a double enjoyment derived from swallowing the smoke a couple of times.  

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