Wednesday, August 18, 2010
I am - when parsed down to the elements that comprise my whole - a simple redneck. "Hat" to me means a ballcap, preferably one I didn't pay for and which advertises a service or business I've never used. And like most male rednecks, I started wearing ballcaps in my larval stage, cabbaging on to whatever cap I could find, molding the brim to my preferred dimensions and then basically wearing it until it fell apart or developed appendages and crawled off under its own power.
I never felt comfortable in a cowboy hat, a fedora, a boonie hat or those straw old man-looking Panama Jack things, because, well, I always looked like a raging dork when I put one on. I tried. Really, I did. But every time I tried one on in a store and then looked in the mirror, all I'd see staring back at me was a big, Chad-sized penis with an unrolled condom perched on top of it.
So no matter how practical they were, I never did wear one. I dubbed them "Dork Hats" not because I thought they were dorky per se, but because that's what I looked like standing underneath one. I always went back to my old ballcaps, regardless of how fundamentally useless they are at actually protecting, shading or warming your head (of course the argument could certainly be made that I look like a dick no matter what I'm wearing, but we won't delve into that here...).
But a funny thing happens as you get older: you stop giving a shit what you look like and start caring more about how comfortable you are. Such was the situation I recently found myself in as I was following the dork hat-wearing Greg McReynolds around southern Colorado.
That's Greg (and his dork hat) in the picture. I don't think he'll get mad for me calling his dork hat a dork hat. Hell, I even warned him I'd probably mention his dork hat and he didn't tell me to stop taking his picture or threaten to shove the camera up my ass, so I guess he's cool with it. If not, well, sorry Greg, and I guess this means no grouse hunting invite...
Sunny days at 9,000 feet are deceiving: the cool mountain breeze masks the fact that you're getting absolutely fried. Knowing this, I was constantly applying sunscreen to my face and neck as we fished, sunscreen that would immediately sweat off and drip into my eyeballs right as I was trying to watch my fly drift through a run. Every time I did this I'd curse, take off my sunglasses, rub my eyes, curse some more, look over at Greg's dork hat that was effectively shading his sunscreen-free eyes and think "why does some dude eight years younger than me have this shit figured out and I don't? Am I that stupid?"
And then, suddenly, an epiphany appeared in my poorly-shaded, over-heated, sweat-soaked head: I'm almost forty. I'm married. I have two kids. I'm fat, losing my hair, yell at the neighborhood children and I'm overdue for my first colonoscopy. I am, by definition, an...old man! And old men are allowed, nay, expected to look like a walking dildo.
So here I am, shopping for my first dork hat. I'm not giving up my ballcaps completely. What else would I wear to a fancy you-don't-even-have-to-unwrap-the-food restaurant, right? But I think I'm sold on broad-brimmed hats for hot-weather fishing and hunting. Unless, of course, I wanted to go the ballcap-and-buffs route. And while I don't mind looking like I'm wearing a prophylactic, I probably would mind actually being wrapped up like one, so I think I'll stick with the dork hat.
Posted by Chad Love at 1:00 PM