We all know him, we’ve all made fun of him, and we all try to stay away from him when we see him driving down the road – “That Old Guy in the Hat”. We’ll I guess that’s me, now. I’ve become “That Old Guy in the Hat” – the TOGH. I’ve always been partial to hats, helmets, and visors – ball caps, cowboy hats, bicycle helmets, even men’s dress hats back in the day. Even the stray straw hat. But the “That Old Guy” is new to me.
I and my fellow TOGHs are a dying breed. Back when I was young, you would see TOGHs all over – at McDonald’s’, nursing a small coffee; on the bus trying to start a conversation with you; sitting on a park bench, sometimes feeding the pigeons; at the Church or community picnic, sometimes with a pith helmet; or it seemed most often, in that slow car directly in front of you, with the turn indicator on. But you don’t see many of us anymore. Sure, you see old guys around, still hanging out at McDonald’s (until they throw us out for spending too much time in their empty dining area milking that “senior size” coffee), sometimes in the park. But not many other places. You rarely see us in Starbucks – the coffee is too fancy and expensive – just give me my good ol’ McDonald’s Arabica bean senior size coffee. Besides wearing hats, we tend to be frugal, and like simple, basic things.
Now you see younger guys wearing hats. Hipsters in their fedoras; working men, and Hipsters, in mesh ball caps advertising automotive equipment or trucks; urban young men in their ball caps with the bill askew and the “authentic” hologram label still stuck prominently on the bill; and of course the urban Gen-X’er or millennial in their bike cap. But old guys, not so much anymore.
So, maybe I’m just a throw-back, or maybe I’m just ahead of the curve on a new movement. I’ve always liked hats, but now that I’m retired, I have the time to hang around places where you’ll see me. It might be the new, hot coffee roastery or the new microbrew pub. You might see me at the park, but I won’t be feeding the squirrels, pigeons, or ducks. Or I might be in the car in front of you, with my turn indicator on. But that’s only because I still use it to signal turns, and I do make sure it turns off after I turn.
As my predecessor TOGHs, you’ll probably hear me moaning and complaining. But I do try to not complain about “those young folks these days”. But being an Old Guy, I can’t help but complain about my aches and pains, and those things that I just can’t do anymore. And of course, I’ll reminisce about the good ole days and how everything was so much cheaper then, but I’ll remember to mention that my first full-time job paid only $2.25 an hour, so things really weren’t so much cheaper. And I may even try to strike up a conversation with you, don’t be afraid.
So, when you see me, don’t run, don’t fear me, and no need to pity my. Sure I’m old, and I’m wearing a hat. But, I’ve always liked hats and I try to take them off inside. Don’t laugh at me, and I probably won’t laugh at you, even if you are wearing you ball cap sideway, have your pants drooping below your butt showing off your boxer’s, or are wearing fake glasses with a bushy beard and short cropped hair. Heck, I might even be willing to listen to your music. I’ve really gotten tired of mine.