Illustrations for What All of This Means

What All of This Means
Thomas saw something unusually colorful in the window of a small used book store just down the street from his apartment. He has always meant to visit this store, because he's an avid reader and loves the smell of old books. When he got closer to the store, Linderman Used Books, he could see that they were face masks. Obviously not the usual face mask one sees everywhere, but colorful cloth surgical kind that fit right at the edge of one's eyes and drops down to the neck. Thomas always wanted one of these.
As Thomas entered the store, he chuckles a bit at the "ding ding" sound that one would expect to hear when entering such a store. It made Thomas a bit happier just to have heard the simple chorus.
"Most of the intelligentsia stay out of politics these days," said Thomas nonchalantly. "I doubt that the average IQ of people at the highest levels of government rise about 90."
"Certainly, the man at the top of the heap draws the average down by at least 15 points," Carole said with a reserved chuckle as she adjusted the left ear strap on her colorful surgical face mask.
"Indeed," replied Thomas, always eager to add more content to a conversion with a pretty woman. "The other day I was speculating on why this might be. It occurred to me that maybe those intelligent enough to run things properly see our situation as hopeless; so, politics, would be both futile and dangerous."
"Ha," softly replies as if she were mulling that over. "I sure hope that's not the case."
Changing the conversation, Thomas questioned Carole, "I noticed the surgical masks in the window of your store, and see that you have one on. Did you make these? They are sharp looking."
"Yes, we make them in the back," replied Carole. "We were fortunate to have some fabric from past projects and decided to make these. Unfortunately, we didn't have the elastic for the ear hoops, so we created the cloth straps that will need to be adjusted to fit each individual. Also unfortunately, we can not do that here at the store for obvious reasons."
"How would one go about making this adjustment?" questioned Thomas.
"Well, probably best to be in front of a mirror, wouldn't you agree?" said Carole.
"Yes. Yes, that makes sense."
"Then, centering the mask on your face where you want it positioned, pinch the two straps behind one ear with your fingers. That would be the place where you would want to secure and trim off the excess strap. When we made ours here at the shop, we simply sewed the strap at that spot and then trimmed off the excess. The other ear should be the same unless your ears are in different places on your head." Carole looks at both of Thomas' ears by tilting her head from side to side and continued, "looks like your ears are on straight."
"Can I purchase two of these masks?"
"Of course. Please, though, just look at the masks and only touch the two you intend to purchase."

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