Skip to main content

Ricky's Hat

Ricky made a decision to let go of his hats. Used to cover a progressive hair loss, he has left the world of things on your head to painfully rejoin the living. It’s like giving up on the Easter Bunny, only funny.

I met Ricky many years ago while working in a tire shop. As a close friend and my semi-adopted son, I've squirmed a little as I watched him struggle with his lack of hair. The hat thing didn’t work for me; I felt he was covering up, and saw it as a external weakness he didn’t need to cultivate.

Using the universal principle that everything that bothers me about others is something in myself that I’m putting a hat on, let’s explore:

I am not against covering up and protecting. Covering up the things in my head has always seemed like good common sense – it’s a big cold world out there and I’ve always believed that if the bastards really knew what was going on inside me I’d get rubbed out. It has never occurred to me to wear a hat though.

But the outside, physical thing seems to be the place I've drawn a line; for some reason it freaks me out – I think I’m externalizing the internal, or projecting onto the non-personal.

I’ve had a goal that some time in my life I would become like a physical holograph – a virtually shaped pile of all one kind of meat -- in how I appear to others. As conceived in my head, others would see me from any angle as consistent and unchanging. No one would have to guess – I would be, as I appeared to be. “What would Mike do?” would be a quaint expression others used as part of a drinking game– an upside down joke on my John Wayne solidness.

This hasn’t played out as I’ve hoped, so far – but it’s happening much faster on the outside than the inside.

If I say a thing I become responsible for it. The more clearly I speak, the more the weight of reason can be applied to my failings. If you disagree with what I write, you can point to where I’m weak and force me to expend energy and strength in  hard work and uncomfortable reflection. The more I’m open, the easier it is to scrape the juicy good parts of me out for cookouts.

I had coffee with Ricky and another friend, Kim, at Starbucks last week. Without his hat, Ricky looked grimly determined, but uncomfortable. Since I still saw some hair around the edges, and because I’m a man of extremes when it doesn’t apply to me, I made some suggestions to Ricky for further action:

“Get one of those fancy handheld razors and shave everything off,” I told him, “Then wax it and grow a big bushy beard.”

Ricky and Kim stared at me, continued to talk to one another, and then agreed on a more gradual approach that wouldn’t scare as many people. I disagreed with this, but was probably just talking to myself at that point.


Ricky said…
And now, I have had my 15 minutes....

Popular posts from this blog

Only once

For clarity, I think I will write this only once.I do not write confessional poetry, and I do not write things down as a form of therapy. I write because I have something unique to say in a unique sort of way, a way that I think is universal in an analogous manner, not as any sort of literal or digital telling of the truth.  I trowel spackle onto pages with a edged blade, I don’t paint aging widows with a brush. (My soul has been psychedelicized, but this shit’s not about me.)It comes in this form – that this relates to that, in this way – A form that I think illustrates things that are too true to be looked at straight on – personal truths that are usually discovered through interactions with other people – truths that are often relational, unreliable and subject to the weavings and debris of human beings. Truths that sneak out and become a miraculous surprise of insight – like a Zen master hitting you on the head with a baseball bat at just the right time.I don’t think I’m the only …

Wedding and Funeral

Went to a wedding and a funeral this weekend with Mary. Sacramento, Santa Rosa, then home– a whirlwind trip through weekend bay area traffic. The traffic was horrible – life changing horrible, but not unusual.
As with most things, it’s a balance of an the unnamed terror and an easy chair in a padded room that rocks. 
The wedding was delightful, part of an interconnected strong woman’s club that marries off their daughters to provably weaker men. And so, the cycle continues, but the company was nice and I’m too old to wonder at the process anymore.
The funeral was for another interconnected strong woman, who, by hinkey or dinky, was a scary woman that I used to work with as a nurse. She would have been surprised that I outlived her, much as Charles the cat was. Please pay attention out there – this is how life works.
(To be fair, she didn’t put up with shit and I liked to throw handfuls of it around as if I were Christ standing on the back of a broken piƱata heaving candy cigarettes to the…

Jingo is as Jingo does

After I avoided watching that Zany new program, ‘Homeland’ on TV today, I told Mary:
“Someday when we as a nation are down and out and struggling for a bit of understanding and mercy our new overlords will pull out a show like Homeland and say, “this is when you had a chance to change things.”
The things that we do, and the attitudes we take while doing them, will all be used against us on the way down, and everyone goes down eventually. The barbarians will have their scribes repeat our own words to us and then say them out loud to our children as they do the things to us that we have done to them.
We are so powerful that we cannot see anything from anyone else’s point of view, and if we could, it would hold no value to us. Just as we now think that one American life is worth 60 Iraqis, our eventual fall will reflect a different changing math game of attitudes that our educational system has ill prepared us for. We will also become confused because all the words coming out of their m…