Wednesday, July 21, 2004

The Elusive Three-Dollar Hat

Ten, even five, years ago, I'd never have thought I'd be wearing this cornpone unfashionable inelegant three dollar hat, much less that I'd own three of them and wish I could buy another one or two. When I first started wearing it, I bent the front of the brim artfully down, but I soon found that this stylish shaping of the brim was in the way of my binoculars when I was birdwatching. That was the end of the down-turned brim. I did try for a while to turn it up-down and down-up, but it was ultimately too much trouble. I'm sure there's actors my approximate age who are still very vain—handsome guys like Harrison Ford maybe—but unfamous and fat lazy creatures such as myself have begun to lose contact with such notions of beauty. I might be fairly good-looking to someone who knows and likes me, but I'm no fool. This is it and it's been this way a long time and my appearance can only get worse as times goes on.

Better To Just Look Like A Fool Than Be One, Too

Therefore, screw the hat brim, I can't be bothered to keep track of whether it's up or down. If it's up and out of the way of my binoculars, that's convenient. If, when there are no birds to watch, I look a fool or—lord forbid!—unfashionable or uncouth, what do I have to lose? I know the hat's not cool. I'm not cool. Any hat that might conceivably be cool on me would either be more expensive or less comfortable or both. I don't need that.

Bucket On My Head

Still, that's not to say that I don't have some sense of style. I wouldn't wear a bucket on my head. When it came time for me to buy a new hat, I wanted one just like the other one. The new one was the same light color as the first. Twins. I washed the first one and it turned into a frumpy crumpled looking thing even though I ironed it. It makes a good hat in which to mow the grass. A third one, a darkish blue, was for winter. I say that, but actually that was the only color they had in the right size at that time. Recently I wanted to replace the newer, but no longer new, light colored hat because the inner hatband was so dirty. I guess I should have bought a boxcar of the $3 hats at Wal-Mart when I could, for my local one has morphed into a Super Wal-Mart, and they carry some other sort of light-weight hat—they cost more and they're uglier. What's more, they're shapeless and have no brim that can be turned up at all; they're just sloppy beach hats, wilted all the way around.

In Pursuit Of Low-Budget Panache

Now what? Maybe I'll buy a can of spray starch and see how respectable I can make this older crumpled one. Maybe with the spray and an iron, I can make it look good, then I can wash the newer ones and spruce them up and avoid buying another hat for a year or two. Maybe by then, I'll stumble across other hats I like.

There are some other Wal-Marts in the area—God knows how many. I'm in one of the smallest towns in the area and we have a Wal-Mart, so there's bound to be half a dozen more! How many miles will I put on my car, how many dollars will I spend, searching the planet for a Wal-Mart that still carries a certain bla-bla-bla kind of cheap boring hat? Seems like a lot of trouble to go through for a $3 accoutrement, doesn't it? But I don't like to change my habits very much. I once bought the same brand and model of work shoes 3 times in a row over a period of about a dozen years because they were Perfect. At last, the local store went out of business and even hours spent on the Internet couldn't locate the same shoes. God, I just hate it when Persistence doesn't pay off.

If I can't find the Perfect Hat, I'll just go back to never wearing a hat. I'll work in the sun and barbeque my forehead and steam my brain. People will whisper together as I pass by, but I'll take no notice.

"He used to wear a hat!" one of them will whisper and the other one will nod sagely as they increase their pace, eager to get out of the sun.
"I snow you—you're that damn golfer who insisted that I drink with him last night!"

A complaint from Surprise Nature Photo

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