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Funny Hats, Funny Faces

A scare about hair

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By Walter Jowers

I’m not a hat-wearing guy. First of all, I have a generous natural head covering. My hair’s not particularly long, but the individual shafts are really packed in there, hundreds of hairs per square inch. If I put a hat on, the hair compresses and forms a dome, a sub-head on top of my regular head, so I end up walking around with a double-dip sundae kinda look.

Second, there’s the overall goofball factor. Some days, when I drive daughter Jess to school, we find ourselves behind a guy who rides the same route at the same time. I recognize him by his hat, a little houndstooth number with a feather on the side. The sight of this guy flashes me back to my first driving lesson, when my father Jabo told me: “Watch out for people who wear hats to drive, boy. There’s something funny about ’em. If I catch you wearing a hat to drive, I’m sending your ass to military school.”

But lately, I’ve felt the need for a baseball cap. I need it for softball, to keep the sun out of my eyes, so a fly ball doesn’t come down and hit me in the head. And I’d rather wear a cap than smear sunscreen all over my face. I don’t want to end up with some doctor picking little skin cancers off my face like pills off a polyester sweater.

Problem is, I have an enormous head. I just measured it, and it’s two full feet around—and that’s with the hair mashed down. There are full-grown women who don’t measure 24 inches around their waists. I’m a freak-o-nature. A big-head boy. Size-wise, I’m a 7-and-three-stinking-quarters.

Just try to find a baseball cap that big. Those one-size-fits-all plastic ones aren’t even close. They fit me like a yarmulke. The upscale cloth ones with the little belt on the back won’t work either. I can get one on my head, but the hair pressure builds up, and after a few minutes, the cap pops off and flops on the ground like a dud skyrocket.

Lucky for me, I found Ebbetts Field Flannels, a maker of retro baseball uniforms, on the Internet. They make baseball caps up to my size. I’m going to order a 1950s Hollywood Stars cap. It’s red with a white star on the front, and, best of all, it’s got vertical white piping, which I hope will de-emphasize the gigantitude of my whoppin’-big dome.

See, when you’re faced with an unusual set of circumstances, you’ve got to be careful how you deal with it. I could have just force-fit a baseball cap on, had wife Brenda bobby-pin it into place, and walked around looking like a goon. Not to mention getting haunted by my old man, who surely would have dispatched his ghostly form from his grave in South Carolina to come up here, snatch that stupid-ass cap right off my head, and carry it to the nearest vat of acid.

A big-head boy can only take so much ridicule. That’s why, when I eventually get around to turning our attic into an adult hideout, I’m going to get an architect to help me plan the job. I don’t want pedestrians gathering on the sidewalk in front of my house to mock me.

People can be cruel that way. A while back, I saw a crowd on a sidewalk, and I thought for sure some poor soul must be flat out on the sidewalk getting CPR. But the party had gathered to ridicule a dormer. They were talking about how just yesterday, the house was nicely integrated into its surroundings. Then, overnight, the front elevation had sprouted what looked like a chest freezer.

Now, I’m no restoration purist. I thoroughly enjoyed it when, during Charleston’s Spoleto Festival, an outlaw art group camouflage-painted a house, using each and every one of the official “historic” colors approved by the pointy-heads downtown.

I’m talking about common sense here. You don’t mess around with a classic. If a house has been fine like it is for 50 years or better, if it has served nobly as part of the neighborhood fabric, I say it’s beyond vain and arrogant to give it a goofy face makeover. Remember, after so many facelifts, everything ends up looking like poor old Dottie West.

Walter Jowers can be reached at Walter.Jowers@nashville.com.Hot home 3811 Richland Ave.; 3 bedrooms, 3 baths; 3002 sq. ft.; $495,000; Allen DeCuyper, 383-7473, Gerald Langley, 297-1912, French Clayton Johnson & Assoc., 297-8744

Walter Jowers can be reached at Walter.Jowers@nashville.com.Hot home 3811 Richland Ave.; 3 bedrooms, 3 baths; 3002 sq. ft.; $495,000; Allen DeCuyper, 383-7473, Gerald Langley, 297-1912, French Clayton Johnson & Assoc., 297-8744

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