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OVID-19 is infecting my perception of reality, and I fear I may never recover. 

I now live in a world where watching an old episode of the ’90s television show “Friends” begs me to wonder where the social distancing is. Or while enjoying the climactic scene in “When Harry Met Sally,” I ponder why they are not wearing masks. And finally, the opening moments for “The Brady Bunch” now looks remarkably normal, much like an everyday Zoom conference. 

Who thought the masked criminal Bane from Gotham City would suddenly look, eh, normal? Suddenly Batman looks surprisingly vulnerable with his exposed chin. 

If masks continue to be a needed protective element for an extended period, can we expect producers to add a CGI mask to the upcoming James Bond movie? 

Imagine Daniel Craig sauntering up to the roulette table, and the evil mastermind sits across the playing surface. They exchange the knowing the looks of predators sizing each other up. Craig lights up a cigarette and introduces himself to the players.  

“Name’s Bond, James Bond.”

“What? I can’t hear you through your mask.”

“BOND, JAMES BOND.”

“What? James Blonde? Who has a name like that?

“Bond. B. O. N. D.”

“Wayne Bond you said?”

Author Ian Fleming would be spinning in his grave like the license plate of Bond’s trademark Aston Martin DB5 in Goldfinger. 

Imagine being in Hollywood today. How do you manage to put out a product in today’s mask-populated environment? Doing so risks dating scenes like bell bottoms, and long sideburns did for the ’70s. Imagine Thomas Magnum with his trademark mustache hidden behind a coordinated Hawaiian shirt.

Today’s network newscasts are already there. Watching a national news report this week, I noticed all the reporters were wearing protective masks. I appreciate their gesture, but I’m feeling relatively safe watching from my television at home. 

Look, I’m all for wearing a mask, but you must admit getting dressed each day is more challenging. Is my blue mask clean? Will it complement this T-shirt? So many new decisions. 

And in true American fashion, we figured out how to monetized the space for advertising or branding. Somehow it took COVID coming to the shores of the U.S.A. for someone to spot an opportunity — a place where people’s eyeballs would be focused and then use the space to drive messaging. God bless the American entrepreneur.  

Who would have thought Birdwell, the maker of generations of board shorts for surfers, would repurpose fabric into making patterned masks? And people would gladly pay top dollars to wear them?

As masks are becoming a fashion item, materials and creative designs are popping up galore. 

Entire companies are springing up, turning scraps of fabric into immense fortunes. Again, God bless the American entrepreneur.

As for Hollywood, they have their hands full. Imagine the scene where Goldfinger has James Bond, masked up and strapped a table, a laser encroaching closer.

“Goldfinger, I know about operation grand slam.”

“Did he say something?”

Cut to credits.

 

Leonard Woolsey is president of Southern Newspapers Inc. and publisher of The Daily News in Galveston County, Texas.