So Many Hats and Only One Head: Retiring An Old Friend

My wife's extended family gathering was overflowing with bodies. At least 50 people and 15 children crammed into a 1800 sq. ft. home, all happily fed, and freeing expelling quips, opinions, jokes, and anecdotes. In these cramped yet "comfortable" scenarios, the overlapping dialogue, the innuendos, the mildly profane, and subtly ignorant comments come fast and furious. You can tell a lot about a person by the comments he or she makes in a large room of raucous people, and we were all over-sharing.

Ten years ago, I preferred to keep my mouth shut at these get togethers. While I, myself also come for a large family, (with Catholic grandparents like my wife's) my extended family is not a family of talkers.  In fact, the majority of my cousins' dominate characteristic is "shy." In other words, our get togethers always take a long time (or vodka) to get going.

So it's taken some time to show my personality to my non-blood family.  But on this day, the
I'd like to be the spokesperson for
Foot-In-Mouth Disease.  

intellectual juices were flowing; electrolytes were freeing supplying my brain of the right chemicals, and the words, jokes, comments, were all perfectly timed. It's a feeling any entertainer knows, and craves, and doesn't experience as often as he or she desires.

But then it happened. A feeling I do experience on a regular basis. I went too far, and got burned.

The set up to this takes a little background information. You see, I have a 19-year-old sister-in-law, who is a neat, complex person.  And while hard-working, artistic, creative, and caring all personify her, she is just now finding her social identity. In other words, she used to have a hard time saying what she meant, and people were always misinterpreting her intentions. She is growing out of this phase, as many do post-high school, and it's great to see (because I've always known her value).

Part of the reason (I believe) for her social uncertainty was because she's had a terrible streak of boyfriends. All women deserve to be treated like princesses, and yet her boys have all been frogs (A.C. you can defend yourself in my comments, you know I respect you as a man, just not her man).

Of all these amphibians, one was still an undeveloped tadpole even at the ripe age of 25. Maybe he was exposed to chemicals in his pond, because something was just off about this boy. Because I have no fear that this man will ever read this article (if he can, in fact, read), I'll even name him: Miles.  

Miles is every father's (or caring brother-in-law's) worst nightmare. An underemployed, living at home, mooching, smarmy, man-child. In my sister's defense, he wasn't unattractive, was always smiling, and he did have a certain je ne sais quois about him. His charisma would later turn out to be all manipulation and phoniness. He'd make a great car salesman, but that would require that he get a real job and wear some respectable clothes. He had none.

"Dang it; Santa's eating my chicken strip again. " 
It was, in fact, his hat that bothered me the most about this man. He wore a dirty Santa hat. In October.

I'm not categorically against early Christmas celebrators, but the holiday sweater, and especially the Santa hat, should be reserved to late December. Put your lights up in September, but the Santa, Elf, or Reindeer head adornments have no place before Christmas break.

Anyway, not only was this hat out of season, the white cotton had taken on the look of gross neglect. Like a cotton ball after removing Rupal's face blush. I can gladly say, that in the few months that Miles hung around the in-law's house, I never treated him like family. Perhaps judgementalism is not something to be proud of, but discernment has always been one of my stronger gifts. It doesn't take much skill to add up the math: mid-20s man-child +1 disgusting hat =1 deadbeat boyfriend.

So there I was, in my wife's grandma's kitchen, 12 eager ears listening as I went back in time to slander this piece of work Miles, saying, "I'm sorry, I just can't respect a grown adult who shows up to somebody's house wearing a dirty a$$ hat..."

The words had barely escaped my mouth, when I saw my brother-in-law Chris nearly lose it. Chris, like me (yes I'm aware we have the same name), is quite the joker, and I knew what he was going to say before he said it, "You mean like the hat you are wearing right now?"

Out with the old, and in with the new,  if it will de-starchify
in the dishwasher. Why are new hats designed perfectly for
Frankenstein type heads? 
My well-aged, loyal companion, ballcap, is indeed a dirty hat.  It had fallen behind the pellet stove just the day before, and I couldn't dust off all the debris that added to its three year collection of "character" discoloration. Yet I wore it anyway.

Yes. I have become that man. The guy who refuses to give up his favorite hat because of the way it fits, despite the fact that it is well past its pull-date. (You don't know how hard it is to find the perfect hat? I've bought 9 other hats in three years, and none fit like this one).

So I will wash you, ballcap, one more time in the dishwasher. If that 200 degree water cannot purge you of your indiscretions, then I will have to lay you to rest. It will be hard. You've been with me so long. But how many people have judged me based on your sinful grime? My head deserves a pure white-wedding dress colored hat to represent my true soul...

Or maybe that dirty hat more accurately reflects me. Sorry world, sorry wife. I yam what I yam.  


  1. Classic!! hahaha But in your defense, baseball caps can never be too dirty. Only true fans let their caps build character and mold to their sweaty heads. (or maybe I'm just a grease ball too)

    1. I'll still wear it when I play baseball/softball. No hat is too nasty for the game.

      Grease ball...haven't heard that in a while. Reminds me of middle school.

  2. I've always seen the dirty hat as a badge of honor. It means that not only has the hat been around and seen some things, but that you actually do stuff too. My hats are sweat catchers more than an accessory.

    1. Yeah, it's been through the gauntlet. It's hard to give it up.

  3. Oh my, I had no idea where this was going. I was all ready to be like, "that's right, you tell that boyfriend with the dirty hat off!" I had no idea that you too were a dirty hat man, lol.
    PS - I also have a very dirty old Dodger hat. I wore it for about ten years before I retired it.

    1. This piece was all over the place, wasn't it. I almost bought a Dodger hat a few weeks ago, but the vendor would only accept cash. Oh well, don't want to seem like a bandwagon fan (now that the Dodgers are trying to buy a championship).

  4. I miss those gatherings and can picture Chris' response to your comment. Great story.

    1. Yeah, the Davis clan doesn't change much with time (besides the grandkids multiplying), and Chris is still just as quick with his comments as he always has been.