This is a love story, but not a conventional one. It's a forbidden one, isn't that the way it always is with a love story?
It's one where all the outside forces are stacked against it, some trying to sabotage it. That's the way it has to be, that's the way it always has to be. This one is no different.
But I must persevere, must I not? Should I turn my back and walk away now, what kind of love story would that make this? It would not make it a love story, it would make it a cowards story and those are reserved for the French.
But I could not walk away. Any man reading this will understand. We will face constant scorn, the looks, the faces people make sometimes when they think you are not looking. They will ridicule.
And I would take the ridicule, over and over again. I would take it gladly, with a happy heart and fulfilled soul. Even when it comes from Hossmom, my dear wife.
"I hate it" she said. I knew she did not like the situation and I knew that deep down on some personal level it may have even hurt her, embarrassed her. But I couldn't stop my love, who could? The heart wants what the heart wants.
"End it." she demanded. I couldn't. What's worse, I couldn't even bring myself to lie that I would. My love was that deeply rooted.
"Go out in the garage, take it with you, and end it." she again demanded.
I sat there, not knowing what to say, not knowing how to defend my emotions. But that's just the thing, isn't it? You don't have to defend your emotions, they are what they are and no clear reasoning can overcome them. You never fully hear the criticism or the good advice, it all just turns into a blur, like they are talking to someone else.
"How could you?" she asked, almost in a whisper. "How could you."
How could I not?
She picked it up, but only with the tips of her fingers as she appeared to afraid to fully hold it, like that would somehow make it a competition. A showdown on who was worth more, who could sway me more, who I loved more.
"How can you even wear this?" she asked. "Seriously, look at this thing."
I did look at it. I have looked at it everyday for the last 2 years and each time I do, happiness finds me once again.
"The mesh on the back makes you look like a hillbilly trucker."
I don't care what it makes me look like, it's how it makes me feel. But I couldn't bring myself to speak, so I just sat there, numb.
"The sweat rings are awful, how can you even put this on your head?"
When you yearn, I mean truly yearn like you have a hole in your soul, it's easy. And when you have no hair and you find a good, no perfect, hat, well at that point it's easy.
A bald head, that's what it comes down to. It's not the look of bald that gets me so much. It's not even the constant jokes from full haired people because I know that one day they will have cancer and get chemo and then be as bald as me and I will laugh at them and their cancer.
It's the sunburn that is the bald mans worst enemy. To sunburn on the top of your head, where you will always have at least one hair colony left, hurts like shit. And when it peels, it's still painful, and disgusting, and you can never get all of it anyway.
So you take precautions. You buy sunblock SPF 3000. Guaranteed not to let one ultraviolet ray in, even is you are standing on the surface of the sun itself. It makes your head all greasy and shiny. People think it's funny to come and rub your shiny head, make jokes about it. People you don't know. People that you have never seen before. "wow, the glare on that noggin is killing me, let me get my sunglasses on." They post pictures of you on the internet with little things written next to your head, like "chrome dome" and "Captain blinding."
And sometimes that sunblock is white and it mixes with your sweat and your hair to make a paste, like you just used speedstick on your head and it's all chalky. Then the jokes get worse, people calling you armpit head, things like that. You die a little bit inside, every time.
So you stay indoors, avoiding the sun and any bright lights. You are afraid to go to places that may have angled mirrors, like Blockbuster because all that does is highlight your skull which is only useful really to Predator as he collects them and you are sure he would like to collect yours.
But your one weapon, the one truly offensive thing you have, is your hat. And if it is a great hat, then it is love. A love deeper than anything full head of hair people will ever understand. You will never get rid of that hat. You will be buried in that hat and when you meet your maker and he asks you if you want a full head of hair or your hat, you'll always choose your hat because your hair are a bunch of untrustworthy pussies that ditched you as soon as you turned 20. Your hat is there for you forever.
I found this hat several years ago and have loved it ever since. As cliche as it sounds, it was love at first sight. One size fits all, one size to cradle my heart. It was the perfect fit. Not to tight that it makes my ears squeeze out, not to lose that a good breeze blows it away. It does have a mesh back, like a truckers hat, but I love it because I also get sweaty head and it ventilates. The front of the hat is canvas and is likewise perfect. With the emblem of my college on it, it rests at the perfect height, the perfect angle. It's not to tall to make me look like Lincoln and not to close to my head that I look like a douchbag gap commercial. It is more comfortable than a mother's bosom, more reliable than the stars, more protecting of all the armies in all the world.
I wear this hat to mow the yard in, to go to the zoo in, to hike in. As a result, the sweat rings are pretty bad because as I have made clear, I tend to sweat like a Llama in the desert. I wear it in the pool, one of the most dangerous places for a bald man. The chlorine has started to bleach some of the dye out of it. I have worn it while wearing nothing but my boxer shorts watching TV, which has given it a definite kind of stink.
And I can't let go of it. It's the best hat I have ever owned. I will not let go of it.
I have washed it, I have put it in the dishwasher, but eventually it ends up back in the same condition that it's in. Because that is who it is, who it always was from the first time I saw it on the rack, and who it will always be. And I will always love it like that.
It's molded at the perfect angles, after so many years on my head. It slips on easily, coming down just far enough over the eyes to protect my steely gaze in the heat of battle that is pulling the weeds out of my yard.
So I will not throw this hat away, tossed aside like some gilted sorority girl on ruffies. No, I will cherish this hat until.......... No, not until. I will just cherish it, forever, and forever, and forever, and forever + 1.