Over the past month, I\u2019ve made some major adjustments in my life. I\u2019m laying off the antihistamines and nasal spray and developing a new and improved strategy for allergy relief. You see, I\u2019ve started wearing surgical masks \u2014 the kind doctors wear in the operating room or on Halloween when they go trick-or-treating. They\u2019re the same masks people put on when they ride the subway during flu season. In fact, they were the fashion rage in Manhattan during the Asian flu, bird flu and swine flu scares. For me, this is a last resort. I\u2019m tired of a runny nose, sneezing and wheezing from dust, mold, dog dander, pollen, and those smelly cleaning products my wife uses, not to mention the scented trash bags and antiseptic wipes. I\u2019m also tired of free-range germs. If more people wore these masks, we\u2019d have fewer respiratory infections and fewer outbreaks of bad breath. They provide great protection against people like Miley Cyrus, who are always spreading germs because they can\u2019t keep their tongues in their mouth. And don\u2019t get me started on perfume, which has tormented me since I stopped smoking two packs a day and realized I had a nose with olfactory sensors that actually worked. Wearing a mask is such a simple solution to such a complex problem, even though it embarrasses my wife and kids, especially when the FedEx man or the Jehovah Witnesses come to the door, and I greet them like Dr. Frankenstein, who just stepped out of the laboratory for a trip to the john. When their friends visit, they think I\u2019m a little weird, but I don\u2019t care because my health is more important to me than public opinion. \u201cTell them not to come if they think I\u2019m strange,\u201d I say. \u201cBesides, they always reek of perfume, and anyone who\u2019s not part of the solution is part of the problem \u2014 Eldridge Cleaver said that, or maybe it was Mother Teresa.\u201d \u201cI\u2019ll keep my girlfriends away if you take off that silly mask.\u201d \u201cYou have no sympathy for the pain I\u2019m in.\u201d \u201cThe neighbors see you wearing that mask and they think you\u2019ve spent the afternoon robbing ATMs.\u201d \u201cI\u2019m exercising a constitutionally guaranteed right. Their landscapers wear these masks when they blow the leaves.\u201d We had a fierce debate over Christmas because I was wearing my mask. \u201cAhhh, Dad, what do you have on?\u201d one of my daughters asked. \u201cIt looks really bizarre. If you\u2019re trying to be funny, it\u2019s not working.\u201d \u201cThis is a latex-free, high-filtration efficiency face mask that limits my exposure to bacteria, dust, smoke, pollen and body fluids. At least that\u2019s what it says on the box.\u201d \u201cYou look creepy wearing that thing.\u201d \u201cWell, the dentist wears one, and that doesn\u2019t stop you from getting your teeth cleaned. Would you want him pulling a Miley Cyrus and drooling on you?\u201d Even the dog gets upset when I put on my mask. She starts barking insanely and jumps up, trying to pull it off my face.\u201d \u201cDown, Girl, it\u2019s only me, the Master and Provider.\u201d No dice. She keeps barking until I take it off and start sneezing. Last week, I had a minor crisis because I couldn\u2019t find my mask. \u201cWHO took my mask???\u201d I yelled, running from room to room. \u201cDid you take my mask???\u201d I asked my wife. \u201cWho took my mask???\u201d She shook her head in disgust and said, \u201cIt wasn\u2019t me.\u201d I grabbed the phone to call my daughters. I start dialing and sniffling at the same time, when I suddenly noticed a patch of blue fabric behind the sofa. When I bent down, I found my beloved mask chewed up on the floor, and the dog looking up at me, guilty as sin. \u201cNasty little mutt. No more treats for you.\u201d Joe Pisani may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.