10:29:20 A Watch Cap

I have a new watch cap. 100% wool. Made to DoD specification. Made in U.S.A. And it's just in time, the first freeze of autumn seems imminent. My previous watch cap, which I might have had for ten or more years was made in China, synthetic yarn, but it did the job.

watch cap

Anyway, Chinese-origin watch cap, grey, came to a predictable end last winter. I returned from a bike ride, went in the garage and took off my helmet, then took off my watch cap and doubtless set it aside on the car roof beside me while I attended to parking the bicycle, turning off the Cat's Eye lights & c.

Some time later, I must've taken the car out of the garage, didn't see the watch cap on the roof. Didn't see it blow away & silently disappear. Later, I would walk blocks from my driveway, but no watch cap. A painful loss.

All my life, I've never been the hat-wearing sort, possibly with the excuse of a "good head of hair." Why would I need another watch cap? Well, when I moved to Oregon--for a second time--from a less challenging clime, I relearned headgear is essential to getting through winter. Yes, I even went to haberdasher John Helmer in downtown Portland and bought a snap-brim cap. But I'm a form-follows-function guy and Hipster Caps R Us was not me. Form qua function. (Doesn't X% of your body heat doesn't go out the top of your head?) And I realized a watch cap hits the marks, a warm skullcap, if you will.

I was missing my old watch cap. It had, as the French might say, je ne sais quoi. Something like a U.S. Navy seaman standing on the deck of a destroyer while the rough seas of the North Atlantic roil far below and he leans into wind gusts, a dark blue watch cap on his head. Or I think of the actor Michael Parks riding his Harley down Big Sur two-lane blacktop in yet another TV adventure from "Then Came Bronson." Always, he wore a watch cap, days before state-mandated motorcycle helmets.

So, what to do? I went to that Emporium in the Ether (aka eBay) and there for the reasonable cost of $16.34 was how my pate would get through the winter coming toward us: a genuine Government issue watch cap. Shipping charges included. Sometimes it takes so little to satisfy an honest human need. Unless I grow my hair out like Icelandic sheep, this is the head covering that'll do. I will not again casually set aside or toss wherever my watch cap. If I value comfort, I'll know where it is, much like I keep track of where, say, my wallet is. When the weather is freezing outside, the watch cap has real value.

Image credit: author scan


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