Ripping off Faces

I don’t remember how old I was the first time I saw a TV show where a character ripped off their face to reveal the real person underneath. The bad guy grabbed a fold of skin under his jaw and pulled his face right off, exposing himself as the hero of the story.

Whoa. In my mind, the mind blowing idea was not the sudden plot twist, but the admission that I might have been right all along.

I knew something was off. I’d see it in the way strangers would catch my eye, as if they knew a secret. They’d turn away quickly, covering their true intent. Sometimes, they would exchange knowing glances. Clearly, this was no simple doppelgänger ruse. It was a conspiracy.

The bad thing about exposing a conspiracy is that you can’t be certain that the people you’re telling aren’t already involved. That teacher who smiles for no apparent reason…the neighbor pretending to water his lawn…the coach who tries to convince you he’s not a cannibal… Any of them could be involved. Well, the coach is an obvious choice. Occasionally, they’d tease me.

One would scratch his neck and I’d get my hopes up that this time he’d go ahead and rip his face off. I was desperate to see who lurked underneath the mask. Each time, however, I was denied.

I pondered the possibilities. What if everyone was who they appeared to be and there was no conspiracy? Needless to say, I immediately rejected that ridiculous option. What if everyone is normal and I’m the one wearing a mask? I checked that out, but my face stayed in place. I admit, I was a little disappointed. What if everyone else but me is in on the conspiracy and there’s no one I can ever tell? Obviously, this was the most likely scenario. I checked my dog, but her face stayed on as well. She was not amused.

I’ve kept watch over the years. I’d catch a glimpse of someone I thought I knew in a crowd, but when I’d look back, the face would be different. Clearly, I’d just missed a face removal. Sometimes, I’d whip around a corner, trying to catch someone in mid-rip. Oh, they’d try to cover things up pretty quickly, but I could tell. Years have gone by and the game continues.

So, facerippers, you think you’re pretty smart. You’ve had a long run. For years, you’ve tried to fool me and I’ve pretended to be fooled. We both know, however, how this charade will end. Sooner or later, you’ll rip off your face, only to have me yell, “Aha! I knew it!”

I can wait.