Joe Pisani (opinion): 'The Italian Zorro' welcomes chance to remove mask

Protective face masks.

Protective face masks.

Joel Saget / AFP via Getty Images

Well, I’m glad that’s over. At least I hope it’s over and that Joe Biden got it right this time. We don’t have to wear masks in public places or private places, in bed or the boudoir or the bacouz, as my people would say.

The rules are changing so fast that I’m not sure what the rules are.

I was surprised to read that Dr. Fauci, the original masked crusader who inspired the Lone Ranger and Batman, said this mask thing will probably become a seasonal ritual, sort of like March Madness and Spring Break.

I, for one, am delighted with that news because I’ve been wearing masks during spring and fall for years, except when I worked in Manhattan. Back in the olden days, if you wore a mask on the subway, it caused mass hysteria — or mask hysteria — and you never knew if someone was going to take a swing at you. Now, it’s as common as wearing headphones, and you’ll get clocked if you don’t have one.

When it comes to masks, the guidelines are evolving, depending on whether you’re indoors or outdoors, vaccinated or unvaccinated, the mayor of New York or Joe Sixpack, a college student or a geezer. I’m convinced for a small fee, the CDC would issue celebrity guidelines for Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, The Rock and the Kardashians. (Caution: Masks are supposed to be worn on your face so don’t be like Chelsea Handler who put them on her private parts.)

Since the pandemic started, I’ve been trying to follow the science, but it seems to go in five different directions. There’s been a lot of misinformation, which makes me wonder where those notorious fact-checkers are when we need them.

Sometimes when I read the news, I get a sinking feeling that the experts don’t know what they’re talking about. It seems that anyone can be an expert, from Bill Nye the Science Guy to Dr. Quinn the medicine woman and Dr. Oz, the Wizard of Oz and Ozzie and Harriet.

I just want someone to explain what a virus is in language I can understand. Viruses are supposed to be “submicroscopic infectious agents,” but what does that mean? It sounds like a teaser for a James Bond film. They’re not animal, vegetable or mineral. Are they life forms or more like Legos?

As far as I can determine, a virus resembles a spaghetti sauce stain on your shirt although it’s a lot smaller and you can’t spot it as easily. (Viruses like gravy stains have a way of sneaking up on you.)

Last week, I was in the diner and ran into a guy who solved the virus and the spaghetti sauce problem at the same time. He was wearing a mask made out of napkins held together with paper clips. He looked a bit ridiculous, but I’m sure Dr. Fauci would give him an “A for effort” even though he reminded me of Darth Vader.

As my patriotic duty, I insist on wearing a mask, unlike the younger generation, which doesn’t seem to care if they spread the virus to the geezer generation. However, even I’ve been negligent. The other day I walked into church and people started snarling at me. Was it something I said? Did they not like my last column? Not my breath again! No, I forgot my mask.

You see, I was a pioneer in the mask movement. I was wearing them long before the pandemic began, and I’ll be wearing them long after the pandemic is over, whenever pollen, green dust and leaf mold pollute the atmosphere. I even wear them to bed. My family used to ridicule me and called me the Italian Zorro. Now, they realize I was a visionary.

A year ago, when they were stampeding through Target and Walmart, pulling boxes off shelves and searching for masks, I already had my own stash.

Don’t start preaching to me about being a hoarder because I shared my supply with a lot of undeserving people. Unfortunately, my masks weren’t antiviral, and I would have been better off wrapping my face in plastic wrap. (WARNING: Do not attempt that. You will not be able to breathe.)

Anyway, here’s some free advice from a self-proclaimed mask expert: Keep your supply of masks handy because you never know when the Yellowstone super-volcano will erupt and send a cloud of ash across the country. If that happens, you’ll want to be prepared. It will be survival of the fittest.

Joe Pisani can be reached at joefpisani@yahoo.com.