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Who was that masked man?

By DON CANNEY - Telegraph Columnist | Jun 13, 2020

OK, today it would be, “Who was that masked person?” But most of us who hail from a certain age group can certainly identify with this question. It was typically asked by anyone who was present when none other than the Lone Ranger himself would mysteriously disappear and ride old Silver off into the horizon at the end of an episode, while a voiceover chanted, “Hi-Ho Silver! Away!” At that point, Silver would let out a whinny and stand high on his hind quarters. But prior to his departure, the Lone Ranger would leave behind his signature trademark: One lone silver bullet.

In many ways this quote corelates well with the goings on of today. We are all (hopefully) wearing our masks and certainly awaiting that proverbial silver bullet, a vaccine. I often find myself thinking of this quote when in public, seeing folks that look familiar, but not quite sure if I know them without being able to see an actual face. Admittedly, sometimes, that is not a bad thing.

Like it or not, it appears that masks will be with us for a while and they are somewhat becoming fashion statements. Most retailers now carry some type of mask or kits. Some masks are homemade with smiling or frowning faces, cartoon characters, animals, themes, or hobbies. Some are purchased in stores, some are, “as seen on TV” while others are simply paper based disposables. But all serve the same purpose.

I have not fully adapted to wearing mine for hours at a time yet, finding them a bit restrictive for breathing. But I am adjusting. So, I try not to spend a lot of time anywhere they are needed.

I often chuckle, however, when I think about the impact of wearing a mask in certain situations.

My wife’s engagement ring needed repair recently and I had to make an appointment at a local jewelry store to get it inspected. (Another major change, having to make appointments to do something we could always do on a whim). As I was heading into the store, a thought occurred to me, “Here I am, walking into a jewelry store, wearing a mask!” As I entered, I mentioned to the jeweler that I cannot believe I am standing in a jewelry store with a mask on! He chuckled, saying, “Yes, strange times, aren’t they? Just six months ago we would have called the police!” I am certain that the time is coming when many of us will be walking into banks with a mask on. What affect that will have on security cameras? Will it essentially render them useless? How could anyone be identified? Will someone with a bad intent take advantage?

My new iPhone has a facial ID feature. Great security and no need to punch in a number. But it does not work with a mask on. So, it is back to punching in that security code while wearing a mask. We all have stories about the changes the pandemic has had on our lives.

At the onset of the Governor’s order, I remember my wife and I sitting in my truck in a grocery store parking lot, putting on our masks and stretching on a pair of rubber gloves. I suggested she should take a photo and add the caption: “Preparing for surgery? Nope! Just going grocery shopping!”

I still find myself heading into a store, then realizing I forgot something, and trudging back to my truck to get my mask. But I used to do the same thing for my reusable shopping bags. So, I credit my bad memory for those extra steps on my Fitbit.

I now often hear the words “stay safe” versus, “have a good day.” I even say it myself. Have a good day was getting worn out anyway. Especially coming from those folks who were as sincere as a slick talking salesman or from someone whose heart was obviously not into it.

So, I say, if a mask was good enough for the Lone Ranger, it is good enough for me!

Hey, I think I just saw my neighbor walk by, but I am not certain. Who was that masked person?

Stay well and stay safe!

Don Canney is a freelance writer and professional voice artist. He was born and raised in downtown Nashua with great interest in Nashua history circa 1950-1970. He now resides in Litchfield.

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