The Old Coot keeps it under his hat


It used to be easy to spot an old coot! He was the one walking around with a pair of glasses on top of his head, asking, “Has anyone seen my glasses?” The same guy who searched all over the house for his car keys, while holding them in his hand. Now, it’s more complicated. Everyplace you go, you see people of all ages walking around with glasses on their heads. Above the brim of their baseball caps, to be specific. They are blurring the identity of old coots and we resent it. They’re stealing our image.

First, came the hats. Then, came the glasses. The hats went mainstream about twenty-five years ago. Before that, baseball players were the only ones who wore them. We can thank the bald guys and people with bad hair days for the trend. The hats were a cover up. The rest of the world joined in. People stopped combing their hair, guys started shaving their heads. “Why bother with a hair cut if you’re just going to hide it under a hat?” Social norms gave way. Hats no longer came off in restaurants, churches or at formal events, like weddings.

Professional golfers are the worst. They spend their working life in a hat, usually sporting an advertising symbol like the Nike swoosh or some other company logo. They don’t take off their hat until the ball hits the bottom of the cup on the eighteenth green. Then, they walk over to the TV interviewer, smile into the camera and take it off. I laugh out loud every time I see it. Their face is two toned. Dark as can be from the nose down, pasty and gleaming above. The glare from their foreheads is so bright it interferes with air traffic. Someone needs to tell them they should take their hats off on the fairway every once in a while, to even up their tans. It will rid them of the “black and white cookie” look.

Hat wearers eventually discovered they could perch a pair of sunglasses on the brim. That’s where they park them and that’s usually where they stay. The glasses are part of a fashion statement. Some of the more daring “hat-glass” wearers don’t rest the glasses on the brim; they turn them around and put them on the back of their hats. It looks like they have a second face – 2 eyes, no nose, and a mouth covered by a beard. In one of my less lucid moments, I spent several minutes talking to the back of the head of one of these guys. Probably because my own glasses were “lost” on the top of my head and the world around me was a blur. It was a great conversation. The guy didn’t voice a single word of disagreement.

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