Let’s talk hats.
For the last 10 or so years that I have sported the shaven-head look (Yul Brenner, Kojack, Vin Diesel, Shaq and any number of professional basketball players and young cops) I have pondered the use of a hat that would appropriately accompany my dress casual clothes such as for work.
I first seriously thought about that when I covered a fire that seemed to go on and on and on, on a hot, cloudless Central Texas day. When I called the city editor that day from the scene to tell her that the building was about to erupt into one big, spectacular ball o’ fire, I asked her to send me a couple of other reporters to work the crowd and local businesses, and for someone to bring me some water and a cap.
My bald head got seriously red that day to the point the sunburned scaliness left made me a dead ringer for “Star Trek: The Next Generation’s” Worf, character.
I wear ball caps all the time with my non-work clothes. I can see about eight hanging from a clothes rack, looking across the room, as well as a GI “boonie hat.” Hats have been kind of a passion of mine ever since I was a little kid. I have had all kinds of hats, some of which I still have in storage. Although I didn’t wear it often, I treasured a blue-striped engineer’s hat that a fellow firefighter at the time gave me just because I liked it. Ed Ivy, who would wear the cap sometimes when not wearing a cowboy hat off duty, died in the line of duty a couple of years ago from a heart attack. He was a fire captain when his untimely death occurred and a damned good cowboy.
But alas, it took vanity to push me into the step of finally buying a hat to wear with my bidness clothes.
On Monday I busy shaving my head and I got this peculiar thought: “You know, it sure has been a long time since I cut my head shaving.” It seems like I could feel with the very next movement of my razor the sensation of flesh ripping apart. Sure enough I cut my head leaving a wound about six inches long. Thankfully, it was a very superficial wound. As much as it burned like taking a jalapeno shower, I was able to quickly stem the bleeding with my stypic pencil.
Later in the day I was in a discount store and I instantly found a straw hat that I thought looked decent with my work clothes. I bought it and put it on as soon as I got outside.
It is kind of difficult to explain the type of hat it is. Some might call it a Panama hat, although it was made in China. Of course, the best Panama hats actually are made in Ecuador. That is what my longtime friend Rene’ told me when he gave me a Panama hat probably 30 years ago. The brim of my new hat is somewhat wider than a Fedora and of course, straw and not felt, even though there are straw fedoras. Perhaps my hat is a Chinese Panamanian fedora. Or, considering China’s Communist background, maybe it is a Panama Red hat. The last refers — for those of you too young or too disposed to doing other things way back when — to a potent type of marijuana hailing from Panama as well as a 1973 song of the same name by New Riders of the Purple Sage.
I have already looked at some Web sites with hats for sale and I see myself spending more money, that I really shouldn’t spend, on better quality hats. Perhaps a fedora or two for the cooler days, and maybe a real Ecuadorian Panama hat. I remember the one Rene’ gave me, I don’t know what happened to it, felt really well on my head.
Right now, I’m just happy to keep the hot Texas sun off my head and, of course, hide my stupid shaving scar.