10:46:06 am on
Tuesday 23 Jul 2024

The Mask by the Door
AJ Robinson

The first time I saw anyone wearing a mask was when I was a kid and I watched the original The Mark of Zorro movie starring Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. It was also my first silent movie, which was quite the odd thing, in my view. I had never seen such a thing before and was totally fascinated by it.

I didn’t understand why heroes wore masks.

Then I saw The Lone Ranger on television. After that came Batman, again, the television show. It wasn’t until I saw the sitcom “M*A*S*H” that I saw a surgical mask; at that age I didn’t understand why they wore it.

Were they trying to hide? Did they not want the patient to know their surgeon? Where they planning to rob a bank after surgery?

It was confusing. Then came a car accident involving my mother. Sadly, it was only her first one. I finally understood the need to try to stay clean and keep germs at bay.

In those days, little kids couldn’t enter the ICU. We were ostensibly laden with diseases. We were a hazard to sick people.

Today, as many people across the country are now wearing a mask, I, too, am wearing a mask. My wife Jo Ann made it, along with a bunch more for friends and family. She went with several styles. Mine has a “Dia de Muertos” or “Day of the Dead” motif.

I found the slogan on my mask playfully ironic. We keep the masks hanging by the door, on the metal curve of a tall narrow picture frame. That’s important as we now must wear them when we go out.

We see many masks, of diverse types and I have mixed feelings for masks worn by some people. On the one hand, it is great people are taking precautions, but on the other hand, it’s sad we must wear masks. We stroll through the grocery store, hardware store and other places that are still open and see more and more people similarly attired.

How odd it is, people wearing masks for daily life.

It’s an odd not to see the full face of those on the streets. It’s also odd that we must wait, in well-spaced out line, to enter a store. The managers only allow a certain number of customers inside at the same time and some aisles are now one-way.

What makes me sadder still is the people listening to Trump talk of liberating their states; that is, re-opening the economy before being sure covid-19 is under control. I see these pro-liberators on the news. Some of them are scary; they openly question if the virus is real.

That’s not only scary part, it’s potentially lethal. It almost gives me a feeling of deep satisfaction that these people are setting themselves up to be the most likely people to get covid-19, but there’s also the sad fact that others will also get it.

I understand why Trump is doing it. As always, he’s looking to pass the buck. He’s setting up others to take the blame when things don’t work out.

First, he talks about the CDC recommendations to stay safe, but encourages people to violate those same suggestions. He tweets to his minions to pressure their governors into opening-up their states, but then chides people who endanger others.

Yes, Trump plays both sides of the fence; he speaks out of both sides of his mouth, as the old saying goes. He does it for only one reason: in the future, no matter how things turn out, he wants to be able to blame others when more people die.

Here in Florida, the beaches are now open, again, and full. Yet, we still haven’t reached our peak in cases and I didn’t see many masks on the beach goers. So, what will happen over the next two weeks? How many people are likely to get the disease?

It’s sad, so very sad. I saw a meme the other day that showed Trump with a very special mask: duct tape over his mouth. Our family masks will stay by the door, ready for us to use to prevent the spread of the disease.

Saddest of all.

As for Trump, I a duct tape mask is probably the only way to prevent him from spewing more lies and dangerous talk, from inciting violence. That is the saddest fact of all.

Combining the gimlet-eye of Philip Roth with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Working, again, as an engineeer, after years out of the field due to 2009 recession and slow recovery, Robinson finds time to write. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true. His teen vampire adventure novel, "Vampire Vendetta," will publish in 2020. Robinson continues to write books, screenplays and teleplays and keeps hoping for that big break.

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