By Jerry Zezima
The Stamford Advocate
I have never been a man of many hats, not just because I am afraid I’d get stuck in doorways, but because my head, though empty, is too big to fit even one hat over.
But that changed recently when, after a bout with skin cancer on my nose, which is attached to my head and is almost as big, I was urged by my dermatologist to buy a hat.
“Get one with a wide brim,” he suggested. “It will keep the sun off your head — remember, the rays can penetrate your hair — and will protect your face, including your nose.”
“To cover my whole nose,” I replied, “I’d need a sombrero. Or a beach umbrella.”
“A regular hat will do,” my dermatologist said. “But get one.”
So, for the first time in my life, I went hat shopping. To make sure I didn’t buy anything that would make me look even dumber than I already do, I brought along my wife, Sue, who likes hats and has great style. I, unfortunately, have a fashion plate in my head.
“What kind of hat do you want?” Sue asked.
“I don’t know,” I said. “I’ve never worn one.”
What I didn’t want was a baseball cap. I haven’t played baseball in half a century. And even then I was awful. Plus, to conform to a look adopted by just about every guy who wears a baseball cap these days, I’d have to put it on backward, which would assure, at least, that I wouldn’t get skin cancer on the back of my neck.
Sue and I went to three stores and all we could find were — you guessed it — beach umbrellas.
No, I mean baseball caps.
Then we spotted a mall store called Tilly’s.
“This place is for young people,” Sue noted as we walked in.
“I’m young,” I countered. “At least in my head. And since I need to cover it with a hat, I guess we’re in the right place.”
Indeed we were because the store had all kinds of hats.
The first one I saw was a straw hat with a brim as wide as my shoulders. Naturally, it didn’t fit over my head.
“One size fits all,” said a young (of course) salesperson named Dana.
“You mean one size fits all except me,” I replied. “Do you have a measuring tape so you can see how tremendous my head is?”
“No,” she said, spying my cranium and trying not to imply that the tape would have to be as long as the first-down chains in a football game.
Sue and I walked to the back of the store, where I saw a felt hat with a wide brim and a band. I tried it on. Incredibly, it fit.
“I look like Indiana Jones,” I told a salesperson named James after seeing myself in a mirror.
“You’re a lot younger than the guy who plays him,” he said, referring to Harrison Ford, who looks great in a hat.
“I’m going to get a feather,” Sue chimed in, “and stick it in the band.”
“Then I’d look like Super Fly,” I said.
“Cool,” said James, giving me two thumbs-up.
On the way out, I saw another hat, a khaki boonie that made me look like Bill Murray in “Caddyshack.”
“This one fits, too,” I said in amazement. “And the brim covers my nose.”
A salesperson named Anna smiled but was too polite to comment, except to say, “It looks good.”
“Now you have a hat to wear when you get dressed up and one for lounging around outside,” she said at the register, where we paid a grand total of $25 for both.
“You know what they say,” I noted. “Two hats are better than one.”
Copyright 2016 by Jerry Zezima