Write every day no exceptions – mon chapeaux June 14, 2010Posted by Conventioneering in write every day no exceptions.
So, I own this hat. It’s a magnificent hat, if I do say so myself. It is from the Bailey company, made of olive-brown light felt that’s been treated to be both water resistant and crushable. The band is leather, and there is a small metal tab that declares that the hat is from Grand Canyon National Park. It has a leather chinstrap (well-chewed, thanks to one of my nervous habits) and a small wooden bead. This latter device has kept it out of the hands of would-be thieves for many years. In general shape it is mostly a cowboy hat, though it also bears some fedora-ish elements. I’m sure there’s a specific name for this sort of magnificent hat, but I don’t know what it is, I just know that I really like this hat.
I originally bought the hat in high school during my Indiana Jones phase. There was a time when I really desperately wanted to be Indiana Jones, and unlike most people I was undeterred by having done real archaelolgy, which, if you are lucky, usually involves few guns and running from bad guys and more walking around sticking small plastic flags in the dirt. I’d stared longingly at fedoras in various catalogues for years, and it so happened that my family decided to go to the Grand Canyon for our annual summer trip. In the gift shop of the lodge on the North Rim, I found the Hat. It was not in fact a fedora and I didn’t in fact care because it was a very nice hat and I wanted it. It cost $50 and was worth every penny, because I still have it. Given that this must have been 2003 or so when I got the hat, and that it is still a perfectly respectable hat in 2010, I would say that it was worth the price.
The fact that I wear the Hat almost constantly perplexes most people. It annoyed the hell out of my administrators in high school, who had a strict no-hat rule. As I was rebellious enough to hate the world but not enough to actually engage in any serious rule-breaking, my one show of defiance was to wear the hat and whisk it off my head whenever I saw a security guard, only to restore it to its rightful perch the moment their back was turned. My younger brother also adopted the habit, though he preferred what our family dubbed an Irish Taxi Driver’s hat.
In college, my hat-preferences remained, to the point that when allowed I’d even wear it in class. The only time I didn’t wear the Hat was when winter got too cold and I was forced to don a warm winter hat to keep my ears from freezing off.
I remember in Japan, the Hat only convinced the other Americans that I really was certifiably insane, and I didn’t care and continued to wear it. My reasoning there was that my hair already marked me as a Westerner, and thus I might as well just go all the way and wear the supposedly obnoxious hat. I would wear it at night, I would wear it in the rain, in the sun, in the snow, indoors and out.
In my last two years of college, my friend Julia decided that if I was wearing such a fetching hat every day I must obviously be defending the college campus from Nazis, a la my hero, Dr. Jones. She’d ask me every so often how many Nazi spies I had successfully driven from the premises, and I would respond with some absurd number and a crazy story, like that time I’d enlisted the bunny-eating hawk to eat bunny-nazis.
People still wonder why the hell I wear the hat. In many situations it is decidedly ridiculous. Who, after all, wears a hat in this day and age? Especially a wide-brimmed cowboy hat?
Well, me, for one. And for another, the hat is damn useful. Let’s see here:
– It’s fetching. Don’t tell me about how it’s awkward and unstylish, because you are wrong.. It is a fabulous hat.
– The water resistance means that it keeps the rain off my head when it is wet and I am caught without an umbrella, a common predicament in Washington DC where the weather does whatever it damn well pleases and gleefully ignores the forecasters on a regular basis.
– It keeps the sun out of my face, which is an extremely important thing as I am a pale-skinned red head with a family history of skin cancer. This includes the back of my neck and my ears, which your normal baseball cap will not do.
– If it is cold, it keeps the top of my head warm (though, as noted earlier, not my ears. An unfortunate design flaw in an otherwise fantastic hat)
– It provides a useful way to break eye contact with someone if my usual strategy of using my natural tendency towards utter cluelessness doesn’t work. All but the most determined panhandlers will be deterred by this technique, or so I’ve found. All you have to do is tilt your head slightly forward so that the brim of your hat is between you and them, and voila! No more having to deal with that annoying guy by the metro asking you for money.
– It is a great way of hiding your identity, your nationality, and your gender. For some reason, the hat convinces people that I must clearly be Australian, not American, and on more than one occasion people have said “Sir? Sir!” to me while I was wearing the hat. I’m really not sure why people think I’m an Australian male while I wear this hat. Maybe it’s that I’m too thin to be an American from the midwest (no offense to midwestern Americans, but you are surely as aware of stereotypes as I am) and so I clearly must be from that other place where they wear fetching hats?
– At the same time (and in a seeming contradiction to the above), it provides a useful way for your friends to pick you out in a crowd. If you are somewhere with too many people and you find yourself shouting into your phone “I’M OVER HERE. NO, OVER THE OTHER WAY…” you can instead simply say “I’M THE ONE IN THE HAT” and you will be found within seconds. I actually discovered once when I stopped wearing the hat for a week that my friends couldn’t find me when I wasn’t wearing it, which prompted me to start again.
My hat has survived trips to Scotland, England, Florida, California, Japan, and Hawaii. It has nearly been lost on no less than five separate occasions. It has saved me from sunburn, from rain, from creepy homeless people and makes me more easily identifiable by members of my own kind (ie, geeks).
So damned if I’m going to stop wearing it because so-called normal, every day human beings think it looks silly.
(seriously look at this frakking hat, is it not the handsomest hat)