Who Was That Masked Man?


Remember kissing? Smooching, as we used to call it. In the movie theater balcony, or the back seat of your uncle’s car.

Thousands of songs have been written about kissing, yet it is quite possible that the word — and the practice — may become obsolete courtesy of the coronavirus. The phrase “don’t give me no lip” takes on a whole new meaning.

We’ll have to redefine what a masked man is. These used to be the bank robbers or home burglars.

“Hey, are you robbing my house?”

“No, I’m your brother. I live here.”

“Ok. Don’t steal the silverware.”

Lifetime unions used to begin with a kiss. Romances that moved mountains. Kissing is an act of intimacy, a moment of vulnerability where rejection could scar you forever. Many of us remember going for a passionate kiss and being turned away, shunned because our would-be partner didn’t share the passion. Karen did that to me on our honeymoon and the rejection still stings.

It’s the thing we dreamed about most, even more than sex, because long before the sex begins there is kissing, and after it ends there is more. Their roles are actually reversing:

Boy: Want to meet behind the bleachers and kiss?

Girl: I’m not that kind of girl. Want to have wild sex for three hours?

Boy: Naw.

We’ve been kissing since we can recall. “OK, give Grandpa a kiss goodbye. He came all the way here just to visit you in reform school.” “Give Mrs. Kane a kiss and tell her you are sorry you ran on her flower garden.” “Kiss your sister and tell her you are sorry you wore her dress.” Ah the memories.

“I’ll never forget you.”

“Nor I you.” “Will I see you again?”

“Yes, I will be in the park tomorrow. I’ll have a white mask on just like this one. In fact, it will be this one because the government only gave me one.”

“Will you be there?”

“Yes, I’ll be the one in the white mask.”

Masks will give the next generation a fresh outlook on life. Consider being a high school senior. You might have dreamt of being the Prom Queen, but you were dismissed out of hand even though you were the most qualified.

“Can I be the queen of the prom?”

“No.” “Why?”

“You have a face like an aardvark.”

“Can I be the class pet?”

Things will be wacky in Catholic Confessional booths. “Father, I took the lord’s name in vain, I lied to my dad, and I stole a nickel from my mom’s pocketbook.”

“God forgives you.”

“And I had sex with Mary Jane Brown.”

“You’ll say three Hail Mary’s.”

“And I took my mask off to blow my nose.” “WHAT???? YOU ARE DOOMED TO HELL YOU LITTLE SAVAGE!!!!”

I’m getting in the spirit. I have a tie dye mask. With sprinkles on it. And a matching bandana. There is a part of me that wonders if, we did our childhoods all over again, this time with our faces covered; we might have been appreciated more. Who knows, maybe I would have been the Prom Queen.

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