The Headless Don’t Need Masks

“You know, Mr. Blair, my guru says the world; the entire world and everything and everyone in it is a projection, our own, individual, blessed and damned projection!”

            “Well, Ms. Gold, then destruction and rebellion and resistance are not necessary, much less mask wearing?”

            “Of course, it is you fool! Why is the statue headless? Because he/she had surrendered to the absurdity, the self-perpetuating chaos of the headless life!  An open-air jazz concert on a misty twilight walkway of leaf-strewn bricks. We see chaos and destruction and absurdity and we play back the adagio for strings and we do not survive my dear golden one! We die, and die again, on one level and then the next, all the way up to the 103rd floor.”

            “So, say we’re watching Schindler’s list. Sure, they tried for a happy ending but by that time my popcorn had congealed in the carton, I was soda-candy-popcorn nauseous without even touching the $25 worth of junk! You mean, a mask would have helped?”

            “Give someone a mask and they will tell you the truth. Do you know who said that?”

            “Batman? Lone Ranger? Dr. Fauci?”

            “Oscar Wilde you illiterate!”

            “Ok, ok no need to be mean. Oh, wait, I just projected you being mean! Right? We collect images, say headless statues, then we expect them to say something, and when they don’t, we project our mean 9th grade English teacher onto them to make us feel bad about ourselves; to self-perpetuate the chaos as you put it. Now, had I the mask? Wait, you’re not talking about some Jim Carrey movie or awful reality singing show, are you? And what was Oscar talking about anyway? What did he mean? Or was he just high on opium or something? Snuff? Something to do with the love that dare not speak its name? Is that the real mask?”

            “You’re getting warm,” Ms. Gold said, extolling onward, “the world will behead truth wherever it finds it, you cannot go around unmasked, did not the other Mr. Blair warn us of this?”

            “Ah – I know this one – Eric Blair – George Orwell- war is peace and so forth, big brother is always watching and, wait, is it his fault the internet spies on us? Did he project those things and we all bought into it?”

            Ms. Gold was tired. She had abbreviated her last name from Goldman because of course that was what had gotten her arrested and deported. She took off her mask. And then she took off the one beneath that one and so on. She longed for the cool mists and denuded branches of the walkways of southern France. Everything is America was mask less now and had been since, well, Wolfe had led his headless angel homeward into the great depression. That same English teacher said America almost collapsed in the 1930’s. There was no almost about it; Hitler came to power in 1933 and nobody said, hey, this guy isn’t wearing a mask! That kind of thing doesn’t stay in Europe. The tub plug had been lifted and the warm comforting water and Epsom salts had been draining for some time now.

            “Ms. Gold? Are you alright?” he asked, “I’m not just projecting that you’re dying there in the divan, am I?”

            “You know I lived through the Spanish flu,” she said, suddenly perking up, “and yes, everybody decided to project that, penance for the war perhaps? Produced a great paean to Tom’s older brother to be sure, to all spirits rising mask less above the boulevard of Nazi boots.”

            “You seem depressed and confused Ms. Gold. Is there anything I can, uhm, project for you?”

            “Bring me back, ever so briefly, to the young innocent girl, apolitical, pre-apoplectic, asymmetrically joyful on the meadows and in the parks, well-masked with a mask that cannot be seen or felt yet its protection cloaked my head and neck, no cold wind or harm could  touch me for I knew truth I was truth and the greatest truth was that I was not revealing that truth to the world, as a child in the child’s truth, knowing, inevitably, the head of truth would have to be severed, stone statue heads made into cobblestones for the hoi polloi, the unsuspecting thinking the train was taking them to a vacation spa, the beautiful Monet boulevard was a yellow brick road; yes, can you take me back to even a nanosecond’s worth of golden truth, Mr. Blair? To the place of no masks and most of all, no mask-makers?”

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