I called someone dude last week. I didn’t mean to. I just blurted out, “Dude, where’s your mask?” I felt pretty funny about it, but it seemed to be received by the other person without incident.

Admittedly, I’ve been reluctant to address my male acquaintances by that term – especially those in my age bracket – but apparently, it is slowly creeping into my lexicon. Maybe it’s an unconscious desire to come across as young and hip like I’m really with it, man…er…I mean, dude. I still feel self-conscious using it as if someone’s on to me, thinking that I’m just an old guy that’s acting all wrong.

Looking back, I used to think a dude was something like a well-dressed city dweller who came out west looking for adventure but knew nothing about the customs and even knew less about cows, horses, or proper attire. In the old movie westerns, the Gary Cooper or Lash LaRue character would show him a thing or two, with much chagrin.

We still see to this day dudes move into the wildness of a Socorro or Catron county ranchette to retire in the “real west” and are so shocked when they find out many of the niceties they’ve come to rely on are not to found in the “real west,” and there really are bears and mountain lions and wolves outside the door.

From what I can tell, the term “dude” has pretty much replaced “man” in the vernacular for the millennial generation, so what once was “hey man,” is now “hey dude.”

And there are, apparently, at least two ways to pronounce it: dood, or dewd, depending on with whom you are talking. There are also variations, such as dudette, and according to Jeff Lebowski, there is also His Dudeness, Duder, or El Duderino.

Here’s something else. You can be talking to either a male or a female, but dude is most commonly used for a man and is sometimes interchangeable with “bro.”

With bro, however, you’re getting into a different territory. But you better be careful who you call bro because bro infers a commonality with the other guy. If used incorrectly, it can get you a punch in the nose. That’s something else I’ve learned from TV.

Then there’s something called the “bro culture.” From what I understand, it’s the lifestyle of particular dudes who get together with their fellow “bros” to drink beer, watch ESPN, and in general, party sans women. Kind of like Spanky and Alfalfa’s He-Man Woman Haters Club; no girls allowed.

All that aside, the coronavirus keeps introducing us to new words and unlikely definitions. There was a time not so long ago that a face mask only meant something people, usually of the feminine persuasion, caked on their faces to enhance their complexion. And the once innocent little bottle of hand sanitizer has taken on a whole new importance.

As for the latest in virus era jargon:

• Sanny. Hand sanitizer.

• ISO. Isolation.

• BCV. Before coronavirus.

• LMMO. Laughing My Mask Off.

• La Rona. A new variation of La Llorona.

• Coronarita. Margarita while self-isolating. See Coronatini.

• Quarantine and chill. The updated version of Netflix and chill.

• Coronageddon.

• Coronapocalypse.

• Moronavirus. See Covidiot.

• Cornteen. Someone 13-19 in quarantine.

Speaking of teenagers, here’s a tip for those too self-conscious to wear a mask in public, but still want to reduce the chance of infection. Put your hoodie on backward.

Bonus: You’ll be a pro at social distancing.

Up until this year, the last time I wore something one could call a face mask was back in the service, and I won’t go into all that but suffice to say it was a lifesaver at the time.

My other random masks were mostly of the Zorro-type on Halloween, which had nothing to do with health and wellbeing. Further, I’ve never been to a masquerade ball, where uppity folks mingle with other uppity folks and talk about uppity things. I guess.

I don’t know why I keep bringing this up every year and call me a silly ol' fool, but I need to mention this Saturday is the 76th anniversary of D-Day, the invasion of Normandy in World War II and the beginning of the liberation of Europe. As is my custom, I’ll be in front of the flat-screen watching what I call my D-Day Trilogy; The Longest Day, Saving Private Ryan, and the second episode of Band of Brothers. The trouble with the latter is that I get caught up in the characters end up watching the whole danged miniseries all over again.

But I digress. Most everyone puts a mask on nowadays, and I’m wondering… Who besides me checks the mirror to see what we look like before we go out?

Whatever you look like in a mask makes no difference, really, because we’re all in this thing together, doing our best to – paraphrasing Winston Churchill – keep chill and carry on.