In A Slip of the Keyboard, Terry Pratchett discusses his hats in one short piece. He talks about his, almost, trademark Louisiana hat and its many cousins that were part of his collection.
This got me thinking about my own hats, both literal and figurative, those I’ve owned/worn and those I’ve considered and rejected.
On the literal level, unlike Pratchett, I have been partial to ball caps for most of my life. My current rotation are a comfortable Hogwarts cap with the school crest on the front and a worn and faded Origins Game Fair cap that’s more than a few years old. The last one is a bit sentimental in that I got it in the last year that Origins sold them.
Before those two was the worn, khaki International Snow Leopard Trust hat that I once wore daily and now keep for sweaty yard work. And the, now battered, Trinity College hat from our last trip to Ireland, years ago. Before that, the black COW hat, which I hold for sentimental reasons, as it came from my undergrad alma mater (the College of Wooster, or COW). The maroon Union Street hat is still around to remind me of our year in Pennsylvania, and the time I worked food service at Penn State University. It’s a good reminder never to go back.
In various boxes or closets, I find others. The decrepit Cubs hat with the broken strap that went canoeing in Canada and hiking in Virginia with me, over 50 miles each on three trips, back in my Scouting days. The red beret from high school marching band, and all the memories of friends, teenage crushes, and halftime shows it brings to mind. The black Ren faire beret that I wore at our wedding, which calls to mind my best man’s hat that was passed around the dance floor during the wedding party & families dance. And the big feather hat that replaced the beret for faire trips.
Then there are the figurative hats. At work, the teacher, tutor, and mentor hats come out. Difficult hats, those. They need a balance of approachability and professionalism, openness and distance. Most of all, they require adaptability.
I find those three more interesting in comparison to my “play” hats: as a student and mentor in aikido. I hope that my role as student in that venue influences my work hats at least to some degree. Under those, adaptability is still an important key.
That adaptability rears its head under the parent and spouse hats, even if there is a lot of similarity to the days in both cases. Still, things happen, as the unexpected always does and personalities do their thing.
Then there are the hats that I often feel are imaginary, or pretend: writer and author. It’s always strange to realize that people read things I write, whether here on this blog or in published articles and book. It’s even stranger when they quote things I wrote. Somehow it doesn’t entirely feel right, no, wrong word. It feels odd.
The hat that I’ve had the least experience with is brother. I’ve had that one for 31 years now. But, due to age gaps, I moved out of the house when my siblings were 7 and 8. And we’ve lived in different cities for 30 of the intervening years. So, it’s a figurative hat that doesn’t quite fit right, always feels a little off.
Anyway, if anyone read through all of thus, I’m sorry but you brought that on yourself. You had the chance to stop a couple hundred words back. Please try not to make any other bad decisions today. 😁