We’re All Mad Here


I wear masks. Disposable. Cotton print. Functional. Boring.

When I ordered them, I thought the plague, and thus the mode of dress, would be temporary.

Seeing no end to the madness, however, I’ve decided to dress in style.

To an English major, style looks like like this.


Shakespeare knew about plagues. He lived through them.

The article ‘He Didn’t Flee’: Shakespeare And The Plague begins this way:

During the 16th century, a young couple in Stratford-upon-Avon, England, lost two of their children to the bubonic plague.

The pair barricaded themselves inside to protect their 3-month-old son — William Shakespeare. . . . 

Waves of the bubonic plague killed at least a third of the European population across centuries. A year or so before Shakespeare wrote “Romeo and Juliet,” a powerful plague struck London in 1593.

Theatres closed for 14 months and 10,000 Londoners died, says Columbia University professor and author James Shapiro.

The writer reminds us that the ending of Romeo and Juliet turns on the plague: Friar Lawrence sends a message to Romeo in Mantua that Juliet isn’t really dead. But his emissary, Friar John, is suspected of lodging in an infected house and is quarantined–and so Romeo never gets the message. And believing Juliet is dead, he kills himself; seeing him dead, Juliet kills herself. . . .

Shakespeare lived because his parents quarantined themselves. Two of his characters died because a third was quarantined by the authorities.

I’ve been mostly barricaded in my home for twenty months, leaving to go only to medical appointments. The same for my husband; he picks up groceries at curbside. We get a lot of meds through the mail.

I’m grateful I’m in a position to stay home. I’m grateful for workers who make it possible for me to have food and other necessities.

I’m grateful for vaccines and boosters, for scientists who develop them and people who take them.

I’m grateful for masks and people who wear them.

Shakespeare was right about so many things. I wish he were right about this: We shall every One be mask’d. 

If everyone were, maybe we could stop being masked sooner.

The next stylish mask I’m going to order quotes the Cheshire Cat from Lewis Carroll‘s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland:

We’re all mad here.


As always, I’m delighted when readers comment. But comments claiming that wearing masks or refusing vaccination limits freedom, or anything of that ilk, will be deleted. Too many people have died, too many are behaving responsibly in an attempt to stay alive and to keep others alive. Feel free to disagree with me, but do it on your own blog. 


Illustration by John Tenniel, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

12 thoughts on “We’re All Mad Here

    1. I just have the one so far, Decided since I have no decent clothes, I might as well have masks I like. Of course, with knee surgery, I’ve had to order some clothes I don’t like. “Roomy” shorts arrived today. They don’t look roomy.


  1. My favourite mask says Thanks NHS. I started the first lockdown isolating with my husband on palliative care and we managed to keep him free of Covid and out of hospital. Now I am having chemo so having my own mini lockdown and staying masked when out. Thank goodness for al those who help us. Writing and having a garden are lifesavers!


    1. NHS–I like that. Congratulations on staying free of Covid. I had chemo nearly six years ago and am in remission, palliative care–I don’t like that word, but that’s what it is. Both my husband and I have been isolating forever, it seems, but if that’s what it takes . . . Good luck with your chemo. I hope it’s an easy experience.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your comment. I’m not sure it’s community and responsibility as concern for myself and my husband. I’ve had three shots of vaccine but there’s too much going around to be comfortable without taking precautions. But I don’t want to pass anything along, either. There’s too much at stake for all of us. I’ve decided I’m not scared of the virus–I respect it.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s on the Etsy page–second row down. (I’d send the direct link, but it keeps coming up with my personal order information.) There are seams at nose and chin that make it fit snugly, and it’s long enough to cover my chubby cheeks. So it works better than disposable masks. I wonder what Shakespeare would think if he knew how his words are being used.

      Liked by 1 person

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