Remember the Lone Ranger? He was a cowboy seeker of justice who wore light blue tights and rode a glistening white horse.

On his face he wore a small black mask for the purpose of hiding his identity. I’m not quite sure why he felt he had to hide his identity.

Of course, now mask-wearing is all the rage, so much so that people wear them everywhere, even after the government has informed us that they are no longer required.

Just yesterday in Tempe, I went into a frozen yogurt shop and was immediately informed by the manager that I must wear a mask, even though none of the people outside were wearing one.

When I said I didn’t have one, simply because the governor had informed me that I didn’t need one, she firmly stated that I needed one there because that was their policy, and that I could purchase one from them for $2.

So now, not only are companies requiring a mask to be worn, one that isn’t being mandated, but they are profiting from their requirement.

“Oh,” I said and walked out, preferring not to financially support the absurdity.

Later, I got a Lyft ride to a Mexican restaurant. The driver did not require that I wear a mask during the ride, simply because it is not mandated.

“Not on my watch,” he said.

However, on the return ride, the Lyft driver was adamant about my having to wear a mask. When I informed him that it was not a policy mandated by the governor, he suddenly took on a gestapo persona and sternly asked me to get out of his car.

“Love to,” I said and got out, preferring not to financially support the absurdity.

Meanwhile, I’m wondering if there is currently a bigger, more prominent and divisive symbol in this country than the mask? Especially since so many of us are wondering if it is a protective device or simply a never-ending means of control that we have no desire to support.

My opinion is that, if you want to wear a mask, go ahead. And if you don’t want to, then don’t, simply because America is supposed to be a free country with freedoms of choice, per the Constitution.

Am I intruding on someone else’s rights when I don’t wear a mask? Not at all because, after all, it is not required and if you do believe that a mask actually protects you, then you must believe that your mask protects you from everyone else.

On the NBA basketball court, if you’re a player on the sideline, you must wear a mask and actively social distance. But when you’re on the court you not only don’t need to wear a mask, but you’re constantly in close contact with other players. Does the coronavirus not thrive on the basketball court? Or does the draw of the almighty dollar overrule any concern.

There are plenty of retail outlets in this country that require you to wear a mask. Would they also require everyone to wear a mask if we all stopped shopping there because we do not want to give up our freedom of choice? Would those same businesses be concerned about your health if all of their income suddenly disappeared?

Fact is you can control the absurdity. Just use your wallet.

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Kevin Holten is a columnist and executive producer of “Special Cowboy Moments” on RFD-TV.

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