Kimmy Sophia Brown

In Which We Measure Daddy's Head

Jul 6, 2003
We sat at the dinner table, deciding how to celebrate Father's Day. We tossed around ideas. Last year we took Daddy out for an Asian Buffet. Our eight year old boy, Ranin, took a foot high pile of crablegs. We scolded him saying, "You shouldn't take so many. You'll never finish them. You can't take them home in a doggy bag. You shouldn't waste food." Of course, moments later he was sucking the last claw dry, his face shining with butter. "Can I get some more?" The buffet pleased everyone. Daddy got his sushi, the children got their crablegs and I got out of cooking.

We were wondering if a buffet was the thing this year. Then we all looked at Daddy's head, which because of Daddy's fearsome and unbridled masculinity, had developed a mighty bald spot. His hair had chosen not to grow anymore in certain spots -- which was its right, but Daddy suffered in the blazing sun. Outings in the park had become skin threatening. On one particular summer day, after spending six hours in the sun with an unprotected head, Daddy came home with blisters reminiscent of a toasted marshmallow.

I think that black men like Michael Jordan, and Avery Brooks, look really fine in their shaved heads. Daddy Warbucks and G. Gordon Liddy look pretty good too, but a lot of men don't prefer to be bald or balding. They miss their hair. It isn't elective -- this is hair loss by genetic decree. These innocent victims want to know why certain men who may be less worthy to have hair, like mobsters, snake oil salesmen, certain rock singers and actors, still have their hair? Why do nice guys end up shiny? This is an imbalance in the universe. To cover their unwilling scalps they have to get hair implants or a rug. If that's too complicated, they go for a hat.

So we agreed it was time to buy Daddy a hat! We decided to take Daddy to the cowboy hat store where we hoped to get him a real live Indiana Jones Hat, or a Man From Snowy River Hat or a Crocodile Dundee hat. Or at least find out his head size so we could order him one over the internet.

On Father's day we set out for the cowboy hat store where the beefy owner told us solemnly that he sold only "serious hats". He said that Daddy's face was too oval for a cowboy hat and that he should go to the oriental rug store instead. We asked him if he could measure Daddy's head for us anyway? Didn't he have a little device Daddy could stick his head in, a round measuring stick as it were, so we could find out if he was a 7 and 7/8 or whatever those crazy sizes were? He said he didn't. I was amazed by his lack of interest in outfitting a potential customer.

This cowboy hat man was the friend of country singers far and wide. He had a photo of Johnny Cash on the wall. He said to Daddy, why do you want a hat if it won't suit you? You need a rounder face. I tipped Daddy's head down so he could see the luxuriant brown hairs which strained to cover the bareness of Daddy's scalp. There was no doubt that he needed serious cover from the Virginia sun. The man guffawed but said he couldn't possibly measure Daddy's head and said that unless we wanted a 'serious' hat that he couldn't help us. (I wanted to seriously kick his shins by then.) We said if you don't have a cowboy hat that would fit, can you order an Australian hat for us instead?

He said that we should not purchase a hat from Australia, because Australian bush hats were not serious hats. I wondered if he could get away with saying that in Australia. I hear they are very serious about insults there. He said a cloth hat is not a serious hat. And anyway, he could still not measure Daddy's head. Another big problem with Daddy getting a cowboy hat is that he is not a country western singer. The hats don't fit right unless you play guitar, wear tight jeans and yodel. Daddy hums sometimes, but that didn't meet the criteria. The man did not SAY this but I think he was thinking it. I think it was a form of discrimination. (I bet he was thinking, I will not sell a cowboy hat to a man who only hums.)

The cowboy hat man gestured to his serious hat catalogues with Stetsons and such, that grace the heads of country western singers. A Male Country Western singer has to wear a cowboy hat. It's the law. I have noticed that Female Country Western Singers don't wear them as much. They seem to be optional for the females. But the men all have them. Around here the county fairs have live musical entertainment for the folks, and they definitely favor country western music. The lead singer is usually a sweet-faced boy wearing tight jeans and a way cool cowboy hat. They have names like Troy, Cody or Billy Bob. Daddy's name is Peter, which again, does not fit the criteria.

We left the cowboy hat store empty handed, knowing what we knew when we came in, that Daddy needed an extra large. The way cool Australian hats cost about $100 plus shipping and handling over the internet, so we still haven't bought one. I'm slathering Baby Lotion #45 on his head in the meantime. Maybe we should have gone to the buffet after all. It's been two months, the summer is almost over and we still don't know the size of Daddy's head.

Kim lives in Maine, which is lovely, and where she continues her enthusiastic relationship with Art, Music, Nature, Books, Animals, Humor and Trees.