Sep 23, 2008

Men wore hats

My dad gave me the hat without formality. He pulled it out of the dark recess of a closet and gave it to me without a speech or even a stern look. He just said, "Here. Wear this."

It was a ball cap, a black cap with the name of a chainsaw company on the front.

I was 11. I was going to work with my dad for a Saturday, and this was the first time I wore a hat.

For me, the moment marked a transition. Men wore hats. Children didn't.

Men wore hats the way Superman wore a cape and the Jolly Green Giant had a color. It was inexplicable, but somehow inseparable from the definition at the heart of the thing. My dad handed me this hat, and it still had sweat stains from where he'd worn it before, and I believed I was being invited to manhood.

Read the full column @ the Clayton News Daily: When I wore a hat