Perhaps it was Billy Joel or Kierkegaard who once said: “We share so many secrets, there are some we never tell. Why were you so surprised that you never saw the stranger? Did you ever let your lover see the stranger in yourself.” Sometimes the stranger we are looking at is in our own mirror. We are afraid to get to know the face that looks back at us because the challenge will be too burdensome to bear.
It was indeed Billy Joel; on the cover of that album he is peacefully reclined, looking into the eyes of a mask. Is it his? Is it his lover’s? We will never know, but the donning of masks is a ubiquitous act that divides us and instills fear in the other. Think about it. Kids on Halloween may be cute, but if you want to make Fozzy Bear creepy, make his face out of molded plastic, poke two eyeholes in it and affix that useless elastic strap around the back. And let’s not even bring clowns into this.