Friday, December 5, 2014
The Mask of Comedy
Yes, funny to think about, but let me caution you against actually doing it. From my personal experience, it's not so funny.
Way back when Peggy and I were newlywed, things were tight in the wallets, so I scrimped and saved every way I could. One way I had was to walk to the bank at the now-demolished Golden Ring Mall, instead of driving the car. I know, it saved maybe a sip of gasoline, but it was also free exercise and fresh air, so a win-win. We were living off Ridge Rd and Philadelphia Rd at the time.
One freezing frigid Friday, I strutted over to the bank to cash my paycheck. For those of you born before direct deposit, well, it was a lot of fun to have to run to the bank every week, but lucky for me, I didn't make much money, so it wasn't hard to carry it all. I put on a yellow and brown ski mask and went to the bank on foot, and of course I removed the ski mask before entering the bank. I did my banking and proceeded on home, and on the way I took a notion to stop at the local tavern and pick up a quart of beer to go with a late supper.
It really was cold that night, so cold that my face, even below the ski mask, was Frozen, so I decided to Let It Go! (See how I work current-day references into my tired old stories from a generation ago?) I totally forgot that the ski mask was on when I entered the local bistro known then as the Ridge Inn.
And it was like a movie, with the doofus being played by yours truly. I've been in car wrecks, so I know the feeling you get when time seems to stand still and a moment feels like an eternity, like when you're watching a Gwyneth Paltrow movie that goes on at 8 and runs until the next morning, or so it seems. I walked into the bar and...Everyone stopped talking. Someone turned off the jukebox. The guys who were playing pool stopped playing pool and took up their pool cues as weapons to be used to rearrange the part in my flowing long blond hair. The lights came on brightly.
And I pulled off that ski mask faster than any other garment I have ever removed from my face and said something like, "Oh! Sorry! I forgot I had it on!"
In the movies, that would be when everyone chuckled and the lights would dim and the pool game would clack back into life and the record on the jukebox would firrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrre up again and it all would be so much fun. That did not happen. I walked out of there with my quart of National Bohemian, all right, and also a lot of trepidation. But I lived to tell you not to try it out. Today, they might nuke you!