Who is that masked man anyway?

I was in a hurry and I had a lot on my mind when I stopped at the post office the other day. I ran inside, checked the PO box, then headed back out the door.

When I got to the bottom of the stairs outside, I paused. Something didn’t feel right. It took me a moment, but then it came to me — I forgot to put on my mask!

I felt like I was in the middle of one of those nightmares where you’re standing on the public square with no clothes on. I looked down to make sure – well, at least I hadn’t forgotten my pants.

This caused me to start thinking about masks. I know some people think they are part of a government conspiracy to … well, I don’t know, to make us wear masks. If this works, maybe they’ll make us wear funny party hats, too.

But I kind of like them. I can say this because I work in an office pretty much by myself. I don’t have to try to teach a class full of first graders while wearing a mask and simultaneously trying to make sure they wear their masks. I probably would have a different attitude if that were the case. I just have to put one on when I go to the post office (that is, when I remember) or church or a store. No big deal.

One of the big advantages of masks is the anonymity of the whole thing. If you’re in a hurry and don’t want to stop and talk, masks are great. I walked by one of my best friends at the grocery store the other day and it took me five aisles to realize who he was. He didn’t recognize me, either – or maybe he did and was avoiding me. You can really make this work for you if you wear sunglasses and a hat along with your mask. Bandits and bank robbers have done this for years, and now we all look like them.

Speaking of banks, I get a kick out of wearing a mask into a bank. A year ago, they would panic if you did that. Now, they panic if you don’t.

Masks also are becoming a thing for fashionistas. I have seen women with masks that match their clothes. Masks with sequins. Masks with designs. Lately, I’ve been seeing women wearing masks with names of towns like Tipp City or Troy on them. I assume they have sons or daughters in high school and they’re supporting the team.

I prefer a bandanna myself, but I don’t go the Real Man bandanna route. Those are the guys who wear a really dirty bandanna to show they’re hard working hombres.

You also see a lot of guys wearing masks with their favorite team’s logo emblazoned on the front, although I suppose you risk ridicule if you wear a Bengals mask. Then there are superhero masks — after all, just about all superheroes wear them. Here, all along I thought it was because they were protecting their secret identities, but it’s really because no superhero is immune from the virus. Batman would be my choice.

You can also make political statements with your mask. “Joe” masks back Joe Biden for president. I suppose you could wear a MAGA mask, but that seems like it might send a mixed message.

Mask mandates have created a whole new industry. There are moisture-wicking masks, masks with your company logo, cat and dog masks, masks with faces painted on them, even Grim Reaper masks, which seem kind of appropriate. It gets so that when I go to the store I spend half my time staring at people’s faces to try to figure out their masks. If that upsets them, it doesn’t matter because, after all, I’m wearing a mask and they don’t know who I am.

At least, I don’t think they know who I am except when I forget to wear my mask, which pretty much gives away my secret identity. Do you think Batman sometimes forgets to wear his mask? Probably not, but then again he always goes out without his pants, so I guess we’re even.