July 25, 2012
For a long time when I would see a male baby boomer in a wide-brimmed hat of leather, suede, or floppy canvas, I would think middle-age crisis.
Now I think skin cancer.
Misspent youths baking beneath the midday sun slathered in baby oil like so many slices of bacon has caught up with us.
No one told us there was danger in the rays we pursued like basking seals, not that it would have mattered. We were young and immortal and looked fabulous in our "healthy" tints.
I'm in the market for a wide-brimmed hat.
A recently underwent "Mohs" surgery to remove a basal cell cancer on my nose. Basal cell is the most common form of skin cancer and the most curable if detected early. This is why it is a really good idea for former sun worshipers to schedule regular checkups with a dermatologist.
In my case, enough tissue had to be removed so that a small skin graft was also required. The doctor and his staff did a tremendous job, and you can't even notice it anymore. That said, there are more pleasant ways to spend an afternoon.
Which brings me back to the hat.
Early on I eliminated anything made of leather or suede from the competition. Leather hats are like silk shirts and gold jewelry. They try too hard.
I've also decided against all hats from the cowboy family. Cowboy hats in New England? Maybe if you're six.
In terms of effectiveness, I don't think you can beat the sombrero. A decent size sombrero can not only protect your head, but pretty much your entire body. The problem with the sombrero is we get a lot of wind around here, so you would be chasing it down the street all the time.
I did give serious thought to the fedora that Indiana Jones wears, but I think if you wear that hat you also need to carry a whip. That said, a whip might work as an accessory these days given the popularity of "Fifty Shades of Grey."
Anyway, after way too much consideration, I think I'm going to go with a straw pork pie hat featuring an upturned brim. It provides the shade I'm looking for, and I've convinced myself that it makes me look like a Cuban jazz musician.
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