by Bruce A. Smith
I like hats. I have Panamas, Stetsons, baseball caps, Indiana-Jones-type hats and balaclavas. My wife has bought me many of those hats but not any more. She doesn’t like me wearing my hats. That woman is no longer my wife.
Initially, I never realized that she objected and I must have been unaware of how often I wore a hat. It must have been something like a gradually acquired taste, for I know I haven’t always worn a hat, but now, it seems I do.
The moment my wife first objected we were at the movies. She leaned over, nudged me with her elbow and said, “Honey, no one else in the theater is wearing a hat.” I looked around. Even though she said, “No one else is wearing a hat,” I knew she meant no other man is wearing a hat.
“Son-of-gun, you’re right,” I said. “Lots of baldheaded men here tonight.”
That was my way of flipping her off because I knew her real message to me was, “Stop being weird and embarrassing me,” and I didn’t feel like capitulating, so the hat, a baseball cap with my company’s name on it, stayed put.
On the way home we had a “hat talk”. The central issue was, “Why did I feel the need to wear hats indoors, especially at the family diner table.” But the deeper issue was “why can’t you be a normal guy?” but we didn’t touch that one.
My defense consisted of attacking her – nicely, of course – about her foibles, such as her cold hands and feet, and how she shocks me awake every night in bed after I’ve gotten cozy and warm and she wants to snuggle.
That night when I dressed in my pajamas I also put on my baseball cap. I had never slept in a hat before.
Unbeknownst to me, my wife dressed for bed with wool socks, mittens and a scarf. When we spotted each other we laughed so hard tears streamed down our faces. We made sweet love that night, but nevertheless, eight months later we were divorced.
During this time I developed a very strong desire to relocate from suburban Long Island, New York to the Smokey Mountains of western North Carolina. On a vacation my wife and I drove down to the mountains to start scouting for a home.
Of note was the fact that we drove in my Four-Wheel Drive, 3/4 ton pickup truck, not her yuppie Nissan sports car.
Heading into the Appalachians, I needed to get gas and stopped in Galax, Virginia. Besides fuel, I also wanted to learn if their famous fiddle convention was going to be happening any time soon. While I pumped the gas, my wife went inside to get a diet cola. When I walked in to pay for the fuel I saw a half-dozen truckers at or near the counter. They all wore Stetsons, or baseball caps that said, “Detroit Diesel” or “Caterpillar.”
I sidled up to my wife in line. When we got to the register we saw that the two women working the counter each wore neon orange baseball caps that said, “Disney World.” There was only one thing I could say:
“Honey, you’re the only one not wearing a hat.”
© 2012 Bruce A. Smith; picture courtesy of Karelina Resnick.