To Wear A Hat.

I believe in the power of hats.

‘Tis very unfortunate that my head shape is not conducive to effortless hat-wearing, as so many people look lovely today wandering campus with hats perched atop nicely shaped heads. They are fickle things, hats, much like men. Supposedly, a perfect one exists, yet the act of finding it takes more patience than even kindergarten teachers have. Unlike my perfect man, I believe my perfect hat is red, i.e. Claire’s in Elizabethtown, and feels worn and comfortably loved, like those jersey t-shirt sheets. Perhaps it’s knitted. I’m still in the process of finding it. While it is undoubtedly not the Boston Red Sox hat I wore yesterday in an attempt to hide greased hair, I do believe in giving other hats their chance at being my One.

People Who Look Good in Hats:

1. Frank Sinatra

2. My Dad

3. Indiana Jones

4. Frosty the Snowman

5. People with nicely shaped heads.

It’s natural to make the assumption that a Hat Wearer is hiding something, be it a bad haircut, a lack of shower, etc. However, I feel as though The Act of Wearing a Hat requires more thought than that. For example, one must know that on the day chosen to sport a hat, it is likely that hair will refuse to look good once removed. Therefore, one must wear a hat only when they can continue to wear it the majority of the day. Unless, of course, they are blessed with beautiful, voluminous hair, in which case I hate them, kind of.

At the same time, the Hat Wearer must ask: Will I be, at any point, in a church? Will I be subjected to heavy winds that will blow said hat off, revealing matted hair? Will the hat emphasize my big forehead, or mask it? Will this hat make me look masculine, if female, or feminine, if male? Does this hat match my outfit? Does this hat need to match my outfit? If this hat is a fedora, am I aware that I’m potentially channeling Justin Timberlake/Hilary Duff/other pop culture icons? Am I okay with that? If this hat is a top hat, am I aware that I’m channeling A. Lincoln? Am I similarly okay with that? If this hat is a baseball cap, is it supporting a team that I truly support? Does that really matter?

What’s silly is that I seriously consider all these things before wearing a hat. What does this say about me as a person? Don’t answer that.

A last look at hats with our beloved Ingrid, “I knitted you a hat all blue and gold/To keep your ears warm from the Binghamton cold/It was my first one and it was too small/It didn’t fit you at all, but you wore it just the same.”

 

Say What You Mean. Mean What You Say.

 

“So, what are you trying to say?”

This phase has been uttered far too many times in the history of phase uttering. Why can’t everyone just understand what everyone else means? (Do you understand?) What’s wrong with a little clarity in our lives? And besides, mystery is SO overrated.

But what if all the misunderstanding is due to our reading inadequacies? Christina Haas and Linda Flower make a case for the weight of “rhetorical reading” and, in turn, meaning construction (“Rhetorical Reading Strategies and the Construction of Meaning,” 1988).  The piece addresses rhetoric from the lens of the reader, the person whose eyes stream across the page picking up language and turning it into meaning. The authors argue that the way in which readers read varies across experience levels as they employ techniques to make that meaning. They also claim that a reader must read for purpose, motivation, intended audience and a foundation of deeper understanding as opposed for “merely an information exchange.”

We’ve been drilled through grade school, almost as if our hands write and our eyes read like puppets on the end of an instructor’s string. What’s really interesting is that our minds are the true pieces of value, according to the authors. It’s what we believe and interpret that’s important, not simply what we see and regurgitate.

Frankly, I’ve never been so meta with my own meaning making before. I would never think twice when constructing my thoughts on a Boxcar Children chapter book, TIME column, E:60 short documentary, etc. Was I thinking original thoughts or thoughts that the author intended me to think? Was it me they were targeting or was I a new sector of audience intruding with interpretation? I don’t have any answers, but I do have a new perspective from which to view.

So, do you get what I’m trying to say?