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Category: Humans

Our Hats, Ourselves
There is no clothing choice more challenging than a hat. If you are at all concerned about the opinions of others, the chance of attracting ridicule with your decision is enormous.

Complicating your choice is the expectation that your hat be an expression of your persona. A hat isn’t just for covering your head, then, it’s a messaging system for that special spark that you offer to the universe. If you choose the wrong message, the repercussions can be dire across a broad range of social categories. No choice of pants, shirts, or even shoes can ever be so consequential. Not only might you end up looking like an idiot, but you could project a brand of idiocy that is inconsistent with your true self.

Of course, these kinds of concerns are yours alone to contend with. I can only guess at what kind of person you really are (though the fact that you are reading this suggests that you are a truly fine human being indeed). I do, however, have some guidelines that can help you avoid the most egregious of chapeau-related faux pas.

First, some hats to avoid:

The green beret. I don’t wish to offend anyone who’s risking his life to save mine, but I am troubled by the way this hat is sometimes worn. Though it’s a critical part of the uniform (if only for its name), not every soldier wears it quite the same. It always tilts to the right side of the head, but in some cases the tilt seems to partly cover the right eye of the wearer. I have no direct experience with mortal combat, but I can’t help wondering whether unrestricted vision might be undesirable in this line of work. It’s okay as long as that drooping right side doesn’t blind you to incoming.

The Charlie Daniels cowboy hat. I know that Mr. Daniels is a respected member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, but he’ll never get into the Hat Hall with that topper. I’m sure the man has a neck, but it’s hard to be sure with that giant umbrella thing appearing to shove his head into his upper thorax.

The backward baseball cap. This one’s okay for young men, because young men are expected to make all kinds of mistakes. If you’re over 35, however (and old enough to be elected President), please don’t wear your cap any way but straight ahead. If you must declare your independence from The Man, use a non-adjustable model. At least you will avoid the humiliation of a sunburn rectangle on your forehead.

The hood. This hybrid of hat and sweater should be used with caution. When it’s down and loose around your neck, it’s really more of a scarf. When drawn over the skull, though, it sends out some pretty dark signals. “I am a moody loner,” it says, “a miscreant who doesn’t care about you or anyone else. Yes, I am capable of violence,” it goes on. “And maybe it would be better if the whole world would just end right now.” On the plus side, this hat will never blow off.

There are many bad hats beyond this list, including the raggedy, rolled-brim, feather-adorned cowboy hat, the goofy, New Age Mad Hatter, the bowler, and almost any period-specifc headgear. Most of them, I am glad to report, can be saved by the simple act of tilting. Setting your hat at an angle can provide a personality — even where none exists. To the left, to the right, it doesn’t matter. All of sudden, you have added flair, whimsy, insouciance, even daring in your persona’s resume — even though you are a total dud.

That is a tribute to the power of hats, and that kind of power should not be taken lightly. It is the most practical of garments, but it is also a fashion statement that speaks louder than any other. Go ahead, keep your head warm, protect it from the sun, cover up a bad haircut. But never forget that a hat is an avatar for your entire personality. And maybe your only personality — so choose carefully.
Gunzen Pipple
Gunz dunt
Gill pipple

Pipple
Gill
Pipple

Youzhly
Wit gunz
Internot
Sorry if I’m a bit late with this news, but I guess I was asleep at the switch. It’s about buying stuff on the internet. We shouldn’t do it.

I know. I should have said something back in the 90s. I remember ordering my first iMac (a teal egg-shaped wonder) online and having it arrive the next day on my doorstep. It was cheaper than I could have gotten it at a store, and there was no driving, parking, or interacting with strangers. A miracle delivered by our modern age!

Part of me knew then that it was all too good to be true. There would be some price to pay for this miracle, some reckoning to balance the scales. But I was too smitten by the ease of the transaction to listen to the warning signals. I did not want to question my good luck.

But now, twenty-plus years later, the bill has come due. Brick-and-mortar outlets are withering, malls are collapsing, globalization is in full swing, and the robots are coming for us. I’m not saying that this is the end of western civilization, but I am hinting at it very strongly.

We are all responsible for the pickle we find ourselves in, but allow me to confess my own complicity. I was seduced, as I have said, and it has taken me two decades to face up to what I have done. I could take all the goods I have foolishly acquired, haul them to the dump, and start fresh, but that seems extreme. Besides, I just got my latest iMac, and I love it.

Which is part of the problem. I’m pretty far into this thing now, and almost every purchase has been perfectly satisfactory. Refunds and exchanges have been easy, too, deepening my dependence on this brave new system. But enough of my excuses. I’m sorry. For the lost jobs, for the cratering of civilization, for the extinction of the human race. Sorry, sorry, sorry.

But I’m keeping the new iMac.

Sorry.
The Joy of 6
I love six.

There, I’ve said it. Not only do I think that six is the most beautiful number, I genuinely care for it. And I dare to feel that six likes me back.

Six (or 6, as it likes to be called) may be matched in its attractiveness by nine, but that number projects an aggressive sexuality that I find off-putting. Others might disagree, I suppose. The eye of the beholder, especially when it’s upside down, is mysterious in its preferences.

Zero (whom no one would ever dare to address as 0) is also beautiful in its own way, but to my eye it is an aloof kind of beauty, one that does not need or want the admiration of others. It may not, in fact, even be a number at all, but I am not here to quibble about mathematics. Aesthetics is what concerns me…that, and the deep, undeniable physical attraction I feel for this lovely integer.

No, I am not thinking about having sex with 6. That is not only sick, but also dimensionally infeasible. Our bond is not about carnal knowledge. (Though I will admit to once trying to calculate 6’s cube root in my head. I got to 1.81712059 before realizing that what I was doing was wrong. I have no apologies, however, for my sweet daydreams of computing long, long, long division with 6 until there is no remainder left.) What we have, you see, is much more than the sum of its parts. It is a spiritual thing, and it cannot be reduced to mere numbers — even though one of us is one.

Now, you might be thinking, “What about other numbers? Don’t you think three is pretty hot?” Well yes, of course, but it’s not really the kind of number I want to bring home to the parents. Three is certainly worthy of love, as any number is, but I can’t imagine us in any kind of long-term relationship, mathematical or otherwise.

None of the other digits really match up that well with my needs either. Maybe I’m just a straight arrow, but two and five are just too squirrelly for my taste. They’re curvy one moment, angular the next, turning one way then the other. I need a number I can count on, something solid, and yes, safe. Number one is too self-absorbed for me to risk attachment, seven is too dangerous, four is half bent, and eight is just too much number for little old me.

No, it’s got to be 6. I want to be near to 6 and to hold it close, to cherish and protect it from the cruelty of this world. I love 6, and I know in my heart that the feeling is mutual (or at least roughly congruent).
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No "new normal" for me, this shit ain't normal.
~ MS, Truckee