• mariokiefer

The Mask

I sat in my car outside of the little market. I wanted to go in, but I had forgotten my mask, and I knew that if I walked into the store without it, the pod people would point their bony fingers from extended arms toward me and wail the siren to alert the crowd that I was not “one of them.”

But what I was I to do? The baby was hungry and crying for her formula long before I ventured out and the trek back home was five miles; five miles from home to here, then five miles from here to home, another five miles to return, and yet another five to home again. All in all, that meant twenty miles of useless driving wasting more and more of the precious gasoline that hit nearly five dollars per gallon this month. That meant five dollars per gallon of gasoline that I did not have since I had been furloughed from my job because of this most recent lockdown.

It wasn’t always this way.

Sure, once upon a time, everyone wore their masks and those that did often looked askance at those who did not. The judgment was there. It always was and likely always would be. That judgment showed in the eyes of the masked whenever they glanced to the maskless miscreant then shook their heads clicking their tongues in that all too familiar “tsk, tsk, tsk” sound they so often made. Still, one could go about his business maskless and return home the same man he had always been.

Not so today. In these new times, the pod people point their fingers and sound their screech until the gendarmes arrive and haul the miscreant off. Then, in the confines of a dark room, a mask is forced upon the miscreant so that he may be finally assimilated. And with that mask securely in place, he is a different man. He is now “one of them.”

Once upon a time, the mask a man wore was meant to protect him from the dangers of the spore. It could clearly be seen and recognized. But, the mask he wears today is invisible It is not meant to protect himself. He wears the mask to hide his true face from the throngs of the assimilated lest they find offense in the thoughts that show therefrom.

Once upon a time, people wore masks to protect themselves.

Now, they wear masks to hide their true face.

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