Close Encounters of the Mask Kind™ — My Personal Adventure in the CDC's Brave New World

(AP Photo/LM Otero, File)

Show of hands: Just a week ago today, who among us would have guessed that within just three days, the CDC would do a 180-degree flip-flop on par with the 1989 announcement that the Berlin Wall was coming down, and suddenly announce it was now safe for “fully vaccinated adults” to “resume most activities, indoors or out, in groups or individually, mask-free and without social distancing”? I am among those who did not raise a hand.

However, what I did do, was make an announcement of my own — posthaste.

I announced that henceforth, I self-identify as stick-a-fork-in-me DONE with the ridiculous draconian mask mandate, in light of the latest gyration from the CDC. As to Biden and his spankin’ new made-up “max or vax” pretend “rule,” as Glenn Beck so eloquently put it:

Kindly, screw off.”

In reaction to the liberating feeling of no longer being trapped inside a body that never felt like my own — instead, feeling tormented and screaming to escape the lie I was forced to live —  I chose to venture out into the CDC’s “brave new (somewhat maskless) world” and live a life free from my tortured past. Free to live my life —life as a liberated, maskless man.

Or, as I like to call it, I went in search of “Close Encounters of the Mask Kind.”

So on Saturday, I set off for the nearby Target store to look for a random pair of scissors.

Given my newly-declared mask freedom and feeling a bit “naughty” [sarc], I decided to go maskless, in part just to see what might happen when I did.

I was not to be disappointed — nor was I left unamused.

Encounter One

As I got out of my car at Target and began to walk toward the store, I noticed multiple other brave, bare-faced souls — some entering the store, others leaving. Once inside, I began to check out the reactions of the masked to the maskless as I walked. As the suspense built by the second, nothing appeared to be amiss, as my heart pounded in my chest.

As I rounded the corner of an aisle, I came upon a family of five, which included three young kids (the youngest appeared to be about two years old), all of whom were masked to the hilt. Fine, their business. Dumb. Their little kids, in particular. But their business, just the same. The “passage” was uneventful.

As I walked down the next aisle, I saw another family of five — same demographics, except the woman was black (it’s germane, in a minute) and all were maskless. The lady looked at me and smiled, appearing to make a gesture as if to suggest we were members of a secret society who had just unexpectedly crossed paths in the unlikeliest of places.

So I stopped for a minute, made a couple of funny comments about the “secret society,” the suddenness of the mandate demise, and mentioned the other family I had just seen.

The couple laughed and shook their heads.

The wife (I assume, lefties, sue me) said “You know what I do when someone gives me a look or a hard time for not wearing a mask?” — as she reached into her purse. “I pull out MY mask and show it to them.” She gleefully withdrew a small, strapless, red mask from her purse, emblazoned with “MAGA” in “yuuge” block letters across the entire mask.

We laughed, fist-bumped, and continued on our separate ways.

DAY MADE.

Encounter Two

When I arrived at my desired aisle to look for the scissors, a young 20-ish dude was standing there, masked up like Plugs™ Biden in a room full of maskless, sneezing, COVID-positive people. You know, like in a New York nursing home, last year. Anyway, the dude saw me approaching, backed away from the shelf a few feet, and just stood there waiting.

Being the gentleman extraordinaire I am, I assumed he was simply giving me some space, so I said: “Go ahead, man, you were here first,” as I backed away a few feet. He returned and moved down a few feet, which prompted me to return, as well, within 4-5 feet of him. This time, he sighed, quickly backed away, and just stood there, staring straight ahead.

GAME ON

I then asked him politely: “What’s up?” His response was to disgustingly shake his head and roll his eyes. Calmly and politely (no, really), I said: “You’re a liberal, aren’t you?”

He sneered: “What does THAT have to do with anything?” To which I replied: “What it has to do with anything, is you’re terrified that I walked up here without wearing a mask.” Again, he rolled his eyes. I then said — again, calmly, albeit a tad sarcastically in a humorous way:

“It’s okay, dude. Not only did the CDC on Wednesday do a miraculous 180-degree flip-flop and declare it’s suddenly safe for vaccinated people to no longer wear masks indoors and outdoors, but also, YOUR president has now given YOU permission, as well.”

He stormed off. DAY MADE. Again. Even better than the first time.

And now, on this beautiful Sunday evening, as I write, I await the wonders of another day of maskless blissfulness — wherever my brave maskless face decides to take me.

Maybe, just maybe, I’ll find myself staring up the flared nostrils of a Karen mask Nazi — my finally-maskless life flashing before my eyes.