Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Mad About Hattery

I don't have a lot of memories involving my father's grandfather, but one thing I do remember is that the man looked epic in his hat. He had a certain playful wit and intellectual charm about him, traits that would seem to be amplified exponentially when he put on his teardrop-brimmed Fedora. And this was no ordinary Fedora. I was too young to appreciate it at the time, but he explained to me how he put the crease in the front himself back when that was the thing to do; back before manufacturing equipment put in the crease automatically. Although I didn't understand much of what he was saying, I could tell that the Fedora held a degree of importance with him and seemed to imbue him with wisdom and character. Naturally, I gave in to curiosity and tried it on for myself.

"When you're older", my great-grandfather said to me. I took this as an indication that hats such as these were reserved for gentlemen who had reached a certain age or station in life. It would take a certain amount of discipline to obtain the right to wear it.

As I'm advancing in years and starting to feel indications of my own mortality, I feel that, looking back at my life, I've earned the right to wear some sort of iconic hat. My first thought was to emulate my great-grandfather and adopt the Fedora. Unfortunately, the young hipsters of the current generation have seized the Fedora as their own (more on that in a future post) leaving me with few options to discuss with my local haberdasher.

Jason and Gene and I hit upon an idea while passing through one of the nearby Amish townships. We stopped in the Amish-owned hardware store to buy some kerosene lamps for camping when Gene discovered a stock of knit stocking caps that we'd often seen the Amish wearing in Winter. This was it. I'm starting a new fashion trend. Screw the young hipsters and their appeal to retro-culture. I'm taking a stand. I'm making a statement. The Amish knit cap is a bold new fashion statement, one that says "Respect me. I'm stoic. I'm self-sufficient. I'm a barn-raiser!".

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