Sunday, July 18, 2010

...we've reached a very special place here: spiritually, ecumenically, grammatically...nice hat

It finally happened. First, the background.

While tooling around Academy Sports a couple of weeks ago, I was tempted by what one might call a "sun hat". You can probably envision it: Khaki color, big round brim; you get the picture. Using our upcoming vacation and some time in the Grand Canyon as an excuse, I bought it: a bonafide "older man" hat.

One of my coworkers was in my office the other day, and looking at all the momentos and trinkets on the shelves, said "you know you're a collector, don't you?". I had to admit it was true.

One of the first things I began collecting in my teen years was hats; baseball caps to be more precise. Nothing over the top, mind you, but I probably have two or three dozen ball caps. It's a way to remember and tell others where you've been, and they have some utility value. Days you don't "do you hair", working in the yard, etc. But, as protection goes, caps don't do much. Baseball caps make "not so young" guys feel younger, almost no matter what. Just slip one on and see for yourself.

This past winter, my head got cold on walks around the OC campus, so I bought the traditional Euro look wool hat, and I wore it, even if it felt a little odd; a little "old", the first few times I wore it. But now, I'm comfortable with it.

So back to yesterday. My daughter had a swim meet, and I was expecting to have to sit in the sun for several hours, so I decided it was time to debut the new topper. Reluctant to actually wear this, versus a cap, but feeling the need to transition (there's that word again) to something to better protect my face from "Mr Golden Sun", I reasoned that this was the perfect scenario. After all, I don't really know anyone at these meets, anyway. "I'll be incognito", I thought to myself. And there at the meet, sitting there wearing a California Angels MLB cap, sat my stylish friend and co-worker. Oh, well.

As we left the house, I got a short "are you really going to wear that" from a couple of family members, but no real disagreement, protest, or pleading "please, Dad, don't". They seemed, like me, to have accepted this new moment.

There is a great line from Jack Sparrow, Captain Jack Sparrow, at the end of Pirates of the Caribbean: ...we've reached a very special place here: spiritually, ecumenically, grammatically. Then he looks at his friend, who is wearing something appropriate for the event, but a little out of character, and he tells him "nice hat".

When you can be comfortable in your own skin, acknowledging that the best thing may not make you look as young as you feel or wish to be, and you suddenly sense the same comfort zone with your family and friends, you've taken a big step, toward "a very special place".

Bring on the Grand Canyon. Bring on the Sun. Bring on the second looks. Nice Hat.

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