Tossing A Hat Is Like Losing An Old Friend

Maybe I feel this way because I’m an admitted hoarder of certain things. Not everything. You won’t come in my apartment and find a museum of McDonald’s cups or newspapers stacked like I’m trying to recreate the New York City skyline. But I do hoard (collect, that sounds better) things like books, shoes, clothes, and hats.

I gotta say though, hats are the worst. I’m a sucker for a good hat. I don’t need a specific example of when I’m going to wear it. If it makes it onto my head, it’s probably making its way into my home. I do have hats that are only reserved for certain occasions. I’ve got workout hats, golf playing hats, drinking hats, mowing the grass hats, hats that just look good, comfortable hats I’ll throw on when I’m being lazy, and hats I grabbed for commemoration. Even if every hat in my life served multiple purposes, that’s still a lot of damn hats.

That also means I can’t really wear one out. I rotate my hats like an MLB bullpen. Even at their heaviest use, my worst looking hats only have sweat rings around the crown and maybe a little dirt on the brim from touching them. There’s nothing on my hats that can’t be washed. No holes. No worn out brims with broken creases or inexplicable chunks taken out. Every hat in my possession could, after a little TLC, get put back on the shelf.

Which brings me to my problem. Every hat in my closet, or hanging by the door, or in my golf bag, in the backseat of mom mom’s explorer, on the dash of my truck, or sitting on a shelf in our spare bedroom has lived a long life. There’s memories with every one. I’ve caught fish in them, gotten spectacularly drunk in them, played some of the best golf of my life in them, set them next to me on dining tables at incredible dates, rested them on my knee during badass movies, plopped them askew my head while I sat on the couch and wrecked video games, pulled them down at house parties out of social insecurity, started conversations with them, flipped them around out of concentration during final exams, and generally lived a pretty good life in them.

I can’t throw that away. I can’t toss those memories like they never happened. I can’t give up that good juju, that luck, that karma. You want me to just pretend all those times didn’t exist? You want me to abandon the reminder of those memories? You want me to lose the best opportunity to reminisce, or to share those stories with someone? I won’t. I’m too loyal.

That’s like telling an old friend to hit the bricks. You don’t call up your favorite roommate from college, who did nothing but chill, go get blitzed at $1 beer Tuesdays, and drive your bum ass to Whataburger, and tell him not to talk to you ever again. That’s heartless. Sure, you don’t talk to him every day anymore. But you do text him when something awesome happens, or when you see he’s in town. You hangout when you can and look back fondly on all the fun of your youth.

Same goes for my old hats. No, I don’t wear my mesh Patagonia every day. I’m not going to throw it on before hitting Sunday brunch. I’m an adult. I have the Under Armour Colonial hat I got when I went to the Crowne Plaza invitational. But I will snag it before a run or when I’m taking the dogs out and my hair looks like shit. I toss it on and think of the rounds of golf put in it, of the time spent with it out in Town Lake. If I give it up, it’s like ghosting that coworker you played a round of golf with and now just make awkward pleasantries with when you bump into them.

So yeah, I’ve got too many hats. I’ve got some I’ve worn once since graduation. I’ve got a couple that are currently in the off-season and won’t make an appearance until the weather cools. I’ve got hats I’m saving for when certain buddies come around so I can either show them off, or help fully take myself back in time. I know I should throw them away but I can’t. I can’t resign them to the same status as that coworker you had at the job you worked at through college who you don’t even remember being FB friends with. I can’t get rid of them, because tossing a hat is like losing a good friend.


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