A beautiful woman who wears a mask is still beautiful, with the added advantage of mystery and inaccessibility. An ugly man wearing a mask immediately makes people wonder if he’s contemplating a stick up.
I found this out earlier this week when I posted a photo of myself in a gaiter face covering wearing a thug’s cap. I looked so sinister that I’m surprised the FBI didn’t show up at my door to cook up a crime and frame me for it.
I guess I should thank the coronavirus for giving me the opportunity to hide at least half of my face. I’ve always had a penchant for hats. I think it’s the amateur actor in me. I like to pretend to be other people.
When I was about 5 years old I had my first exposure to a newspaper. I was one of thousands of little people who were given the polio vaccine in little paper cups, a campaign that helped to eradicate that horrible disease just a couple of decades after we had a serving president who was a victim of Polio.
The polio vaccine was perfected just a few years before I was born, and vanquished one of the great tragic destroyer of lives from previous centuries. Those of us alive today have no idea what it’s like to see loved one scythed down like a sheaf of grain before first Jonas Salk discovered an injected vaccine and then, in 1961 an oral variation was introduced, which led to millions of people lining up to get that little pill. Or how much the fact that our beloved President FDR, whom polio kept in a wheelchair, was a symbol of the disease.
Because, as I said, I always loved to wear hats, I wore the infantryman’s helmet that my dad had carried overseas to Italy when he took before and after photos of cities that had been bombed. For years one of my most cherished possessions was a photo of the airbase at the foot of Mount Vesuvius in Naples in 1944 when the mountain was in full eruption mode.
So when my mother took me to a big event where they handed out the polio vaccine there was a newspaper reporter who took a photo of me taking the pill with the big combat helmet almost swallowing my head. It ended up on the front page of the local paper. And no I don’t still have the clipping, although my mother kept it for decades.
That may have been when I decided that newspapers would be my life. Or, it may have been then that I liked taking pills with an ice cream cone chaser. I mean, after all, who wouldn’t?
But to get back to hats, or rather, masks, have you noticed how the masks that we are now obliged to wear are now ways of expressing our individuality in the same way that neckties are?
Women are always more likely to take advantage of such fashion accessories than men. But I’m seeing more and more males looking for ways to make themselves stand out when they cover their face. They can’t force you to wear a necktie, but they can shame you into wearing a mask. If such is the case, you might as well use it as a way to be individualistic, to promote causes and to irritate others, all the while wheezing from one location to the other while under the influence of oxygen deprivation.
As one of our other columnists asks, “Can you give me an amen?” Sure, as long as I’m allowed to lift the mask long enough to breathe to that.