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Unmasking the Future: Looking Forward to Normalcy

Toasting a Maskless Tomorrow

Who WAS that masked man? No disrespect, Zorro, but you’re not alone. These days, it could be anyone. And it usually is. Except for the youngest kids - with few exceptions, they don’t wear masks. (Most of them have no clue who Zorro is, either.)

Wearing masks has become a sign of consideration and respect for others … or over-the-top fear-mongering, depending upon whom you ask. There are plain surgical masks, handmade colorful and patterned masks, and designer masks made from high-end clothing lines. I haven’t yet seen masks patterned like they those of comic superheroes’, but I’m sure they’re out there somewhere. Likewise for masks emblazoned with popular sayings, famous quotes, or personal opinion, much like you’d see on a t-shirt. Perhaps enterprising mask-makers just haven’t gone to quite that much trouble, hoping to see an end to this pandemic and thus the market for masks.

So what then, when the pandemic finally wanes, businesses fully re-open, “normal” everyday routines are resurrected, and we can literally show our faces again? When the last state lifts its final restrictions, I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a national celebration to commemorate our victory over this biological enemy. And what better way than to torch its symbol? The mask is stifling, especially in the summer heat and humidity, and I can’t imagine anyone missing having to wear it. All told, statistically at least half of us absolutely despise wearing them. I can just envision mask-burning parties, much like the early feminists of the late 1960s held their bra-burning protests.

When the day of the Great Unmasking arrives, I wonder, will desserts be temporarily renamed in its honor? Mask Flambé. Mask à la Mode. Mask-arpone, anyone? For one day, will schools refer to arithmetic as Mask-amatics, much like March 14 is dubbed Pi Day? (For those out of the loop, pi is a mathematical constant with practically an infinite series of numbers abbreviated to 3.14.) And will there be Un-masquerade parties to mark the event?

I have to think that Halloween will have a unique spin this year, too, assuming that we’re well out of lockdown by then. I don’t know about you, but I’d find the traditional ghost, goblin, witch, monster, and vampire yelling “Trick or Treat!” so much more reassuring than seeing kids dressed up as the coronavirus, its victims, or everyday people wearing masks. Well, I assume the ones just wearing the masks will be the teenagers who are really too old to be out trick-or-treating. Yup, the same ones who’ve always walked door to door without a costume, carrying pillow cases to collect candy. Some things never change (sigh).

Yes, 2020 will definitely go down as an “interesting” year. And it’s only half over. Considering what we’ve all been going through, a mask bonfire may be just the thing to ring in a new year, come January 1, 2021. Though the darn things may come in handy if we end up with some bitter cold weather next winter.


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