Before COVID-19, only thieves and bank robbers wore homemade masks and bandannas. No one even thought of going into places with masks unless they had an illness that weakened their immune system. If we saw someone with a mask, we’d expect them to say, “It’s a hold-up; give me your money.” Just recently many states started requiring all of us to wear masks when in businesses or places with a lot of people. So while we are in line, should we point our fingers at the clerk like a gun and say, “It’s a hold-up. Give me everything, but the virus. You can keep that.”


Starting Sunday in Pennsylvania everyone will be wearing masks in grocery stores and other essential businesses, along with the thieves. As a cashier, we were taught that if we are held up to try to remember as much of the person’s facial features as possible. Now we’ll have to try to remember what color his or her eyes were and the kind of mask he or she was wearing. Truthfully, if someone was pointing a gun at me, I’d be too busy peeing my pants to remember if the customer was wearing Depends for a mask or the cup of a bra tied around the face.

People are very creative with their mask making. There are even videos online on how to make masks out of socks, shirt sleeves, and so on. Just about anything can be made into mask-like washcloths, towels, bandannas, and scarfs. Who knows, someone may be using underwear to make a mask. They do have elastic that can be used to go around the ears. If I was told, “This is a hold-up,” from a guy with underwear wrapped around his face, I would be laughing uncontrollably. I’d be laughing behind my mask if a regular came in with one made from underwear.

How do we tell the crooks from the people just trying to stay safe? Was it the woman using a maxi pad over her mouth and nose or the guy with women’s underwear wrapped about his face? Could it be the one with a mask that lights up when he or she talks? Maybe it’s the washcloth girl?

Just think about how much more creative thieves and bank robbers will be with their masks after the virus goes away. Even when nonessential businesses start opening up, people will still have to wear masks. People will be going into banks with their faces covered. The tellers will even have masks on. No one will even question a would-be bank robber. The pantyhose over the face could just be a creative mask someone came up with or a person trying to rob the bank. Is the person demanding money or asking for money to be deposited?


When you think about it, we are all being held at gunpoint by a relentless virus. The virus is hiding under its own mask. It’s hiding on surfaces, in a sneeze or a cough, and so on. It’s even more creative than we are. Sometimes it infects a person and the person doesn’t show symptoms. We are left to use masks to try to keep the virus from infecting us. It’s time we tell the virus, “It’s a hold-up. We want the secret you’re hiding to put an end to you.” Until we can do that, we need to laugh a little about our current situation.

Humor is powerful medicine. A little laughter frees us from the loneliness and isolation we are feeling during these rough times. If this post didn’t bring out a bit of laughter, find something that will. I couldn’t make it from day to day at work without it. I joke around with my customers and co-workers. I actually had a man come in my line with a pair of depends tied around his face with strings. I was wearing a mask my boss gave me and I was so glad the guy couldn’t see me cracking up.


I’m on vacation this week, but when I go into stores I’ll be observing the creative masks and putting one on myself. When I go back to work and face uncooperative customers, laughter will help me stay in the light.



12 thoughts on “IT’S A HOLD UP

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