To mask, or not to mask, that is the question:

Whether 'tis more embarrassing in the mind to suffer

The dirty looks of CNN binge-watching whackos,

Or to hide behind a bacteria-belching grubby scarf,

Perhaps a makeshift paper towel tied with rubber band:

And by hoofing with the herd, simply suffocating

In one's own CO2 - only to faint in a meat market parking lot.

Ay - there's the rub.

To shop for meals or medical marijuana,

Our fate may come in an unexpected way.

When we have shuffled off this mortal coil

Or to Buffalo, N.Y., whichever comes first,

Must give us pause - there's the vertex

That makes the calamity of this pandemic so profound.

For those who would bear the whips and scorns of no haircuts,

Toilet paper, or beer bashes,

The oppressor's reach is long and hard.

The pangs of social stagnation or classroom chaos,

The insolence of politicians and bumptious broadcasters,

The patient suffering from shifting sands of sanity

Where one might present this phenomenon

With a streaking bare body?

But the grunt and sweat of this weary life

Shall pass within 77 settings of the sun.

And soon, we will be whole again,

With street fairs, wine tasting and line-free Costco shopping.

For unforetold fate does make cowards of us all.

Thus, the native hue of resolution

Is overshadowed by the pale cast of terrifying thoughts.

But patience and faith will end these darkened days,

As six feet apart, not six feet under

Will liberate us all.


Steve Hansen is a Lodi writer and satirist.

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