This is getting bad.
I don’t know when or where I purchased the brown baseball cap, with the words “Carharrtt manufacturer Detroit-Mich” printed in brown lettering inside a small fading yellowish box bordered by dark brown. I have no idea what I paid for it. It’s just a cap, plain and unassuming. I call it Cappy.
I like plain and unassuming. I don’t like calling attention to myself. I typically don’t like wearing clothes that have printing on them, that advertise something, some product or person or philosophy. I’m not sure why, I have no problem with anyone else wearing anything like that. I don’t sit and make judgments on anyone’s fashion taste, although I’m sure there are fashion conscious people out there who make judgments on my fashion sense. Again, I don’t really give a rip, let them judge me all they want. Odds are they are right.
I dress to be comfortable. I typically wear blue jeans and a plain colored Champion t-shirt. The only thing inscribed on the shirts is the Champion logo, which is pretty small. I like them because they seem to be fairly durable, they are big enough that they are comfortable – they stretch out enough that they don’t hug my middle aged paunch. I hate the other shirts I have in my drawer that I’ve outgrown that hug my pot belly – I am shallow enough that I’d rather hide that.
I have several plain denim shirts, either blue or brown, that I wear over my Champion t-shirts. Add in white tube socks and dirty sneakers, and you have a picture of what I wear probably 85% of the days of the year.
I started wearing caps a long time ago, after I started going bald, although being follicly challenged never really bothered me. The thing about new caps is that they are stiff, and they haven’t had a chance to adapt and conform to the shape of your head. Then there is the bill, which at first is straight and stiff, and you need to bend it and put a crease in the middle, so it shades your eyes, and makes you look like a mysterious and tough dude. There is nothing that makes you feel more like a dweeb than wearing a brand new cap, stiff and clean and sitting too high on your head. There is a required period of breaking in a new cap that you have to put up with in order to eventually get the maximum effect. Once a cap is broken in, it becomes an extension of your head, and not only is it so comfortable that you forget you are wearing it, others recognize it as a part of you.
Cappy has been my steady companion for the past several years, and we’ve become very close. There are acquaintances I’ve made who’ve never seen me without Cappy. He is by far the best cap I’ve ever owned. And believe me, I’m not one to get overly sentimental about clothing.
A couple of weeks ago, my wife made the comment that Cappy has to go. I was shocked and stunned. We’ve been married for over 31 years, but my first impulse was to reply, maybe you have to go. I added that being jealous of a cap is evidence of insecurity and other serious character flaws. That may be so, she said, but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s falling apart, it’s rotting.
After she left the room, I took Cappy off and took a long look at him. What I saw shocked me. There were two small holes worn through the cloth top, and the edges of the bill are frayed. In the two weeks since, the holes have gotten bigger, and I’ve also become aware of a slightly unpleasant odor. In short, Cappy is decomposing before my very eyes.
I still wear Cappy but I know his days are numbered. I don’t like to think about it, we’ve been together so long. But even caps fade away and die. At some time I’m going to have to break down and stop wearing him. I’m thinking of purchasing a glass case where I can stow Cappy and look at him forever more, but that seems a bit weird. Besides, he never was much to look at – he was meant to be worn.
I suppose someday I’ll buy a new cap, but I don’t like to talk about that while I’m wearing my trusty Cappy. Cappy, please know, that even after you are gone, there can never be another to replace you, and you’ll always live on, if not on my head, then in my heart.