Hats: can they be turned around, and the proper direction of things
i remember many years ago, reading Steinbeck's 'The Grapes Of Wrath' . i remember what struck me most, was Tom Joad's hat. more precisely, his cap, which was issued to him as he was released from prison; 'His gray cap was so new that the visor was still stiff and the button still on, not shapeless and bulged as it would be when it had served for a while all the various purposes of a cap—carrying sack, towel, handkerchief. ' and indeed, Tom soon uses that cap, with tbe visor that he soon bends and breaks, to the fullest usage, all these activities and many, many more .
but does he ever wear it backwards? or sideways?
no. Tom joad had a long road ahead of him before becoming the carrier of the one ring of power and approaching the accursed land of Mordor, but he would not set out with his family, upon the perilous road with an improperly-oriented hat.
That is because hats can't be worn to the strictest definition of the verb 'to wear' with an erroneous designated direction.
if you understand from This the visceral hatred and concern for our civilizationi feel, by those who would foolishly don their cap in an inappropriate manner. verily, it is an abhorent rebellion against society, but in the most idiotic way:through intentional disallignment of the hat with the head. the panache that these 'rebels' attempt to convey by shunning the least of human conventions, makes the whole endevour of resistance to repression as not worthwhile, unappatizing, and disingenuous.
i hope this attempt at self-assertion will go the way of the codpiece and the one-shoulder capes of ancient infamy.
which brings us to the matter at hand. having proven the necessity of proper directionality of hats, we come across a puzzeling event.
or at least this was my recent experience:
a well-respected, honorable and professional member of the teaching staff, came to work one day with a cap which was marked "FOLLOW ME" on the front side.
being an honorable and caring person, who cares greatly for the wellbeing of her students, she wore the cap correctly.
and yet it was an affront to all that i hold dear!
consider the horror i found myself;
i accept both implicit and explicit calls for orderly navigation. it is encumbered on us all to walk in lines, hopful that the person that we follow so sincerely, is inclined and able to lead us onwards. indeed the word 'forward' is the heart of it!
i shall follow a forward-walking person.
i shall not follow a backward-walking one.
it is an impossibility.
the term 'to follow' , just like the aforementiond verb 'to wear' is a clear-cut case. there is no room for alternative interpretation of the meaning. and just like with the abominable backward-facing cap, or the sideways one, here , with follow, there could be no secondary direction inwhich i could walk, or inwhich the subject of my trust could lead!
if the leader walks forward, it is possible for those that walk behind to follow. if the leader is walking backwards, or sideways, upside down or upwards in flight, it is not a possible thing to follow suit in the strict meaning of the term.
at this point, dear reader, you may call upon the better angles of our hearts, and seek a compromise . perhaps you would attemp to point out that though the impossibility of following behind a backward walking leader, is well and justly established there is some marginal accomodation in expansions, namely , i could 'follow the actions' of the leader, mimicking, or mirroring his movements. and while it could be that this composite expression is not alien in definition, IT IS ABSENT REASON, SAFETY, MORALITY OR PRACTICALITY!!!
could you imagine the fate of those followers, who choose to follow the actions of a leader that is so absorbed in causing a disturbance, that they would face towards his flock, and walk backwards? urging his followers to mimick his actions?
why, the dangers of all those backward-walkers, directing their effort in backward motion, unheedful of the dangers or even the position of their peers who are following in the same manner?! furthermore, having the leader moving in one direction, while the followers moving away , REDUCES the Effect and Affect that the leader has on the rapidly retreating followers as the distance between them grows!!
further unholy experiments could be made.
what if they all walk sidways?
what if the leader uses a mirror of some kind, held by a favored follower?
what if the leader ineds himself, walking backwards among his followers, in turn being led by the runner up?
all attempts of such kind are bound to disaster and dissolution!!
lastly, and most greivious of all. the leader, still bent on his backward walking conceit, tells the followers to walk in THE SAME DIRECTION , and thus , while he is walking backwards he is proudly looking at his followers, who are eagerly walking in the same direction. they shall not be strictly 'following' that person, as he is hazerdously facing towards them and not bravely setting the path with his eyes unincumbered, full of alert, and with a clear vision of where he wants to go. the non-followers or the quasi-followers shall and must be warned and steel themselves to the clear dangers ahead, that are not apparent tovthe one that is looking at them. such shall be their doubt, and skepticism, that they shall surly abandon the neatness of the formation, the beauty of the straight line of people, and move now in their own direction. be it with friends or alone, be it with certainty or confusion and doubt!
i shall take a moment now to consider something from the field of paleontology:
the Cambrian explosion, which happened 540 million years ago, is perhaps the most dramatic event in the evolution of life, with the obvious exception of the beggining of life and the transition of Theprose.com to the beta site.
before the cambrian explosion, animals were slow, or immobile organisms, lacking in nervous systems, propelling themselves blindky through the shallow waters that they could inhabit, and not muxh more. there was much life in the world, but most of it in relatively narrow coastal bands. most of that life would strike us as boring, and uninteresting. imagine then the rapidity of change, that within the blink of a 30 million year span, all major phylum that we recognize, like the chordites, the arthropods, echinodetms, to name but a few, began to appear!
such was the revolution in place that the oceans of the world now quickly teemed with life.
but the great cambrian explosion was not without casualties.
and one of the greatests determinants whether an animal could survive or not is DIRECTIONALITY.
short or long, big or small. the great successors of the exinct cambrians, were those that had eyes and other sensors at the forefront of their bodies, in proximity to the eating oraficese and away from the hindpart.
this specificity in motion spelled a great doom to those who moved undirected, or spread their sensory and nervous system in equal parts along their bodies. those unfortunate, unguided , un-centralized met their end quickly at the hands of those who had adapted favirablity to directed movement.
so it was then, and so it is now!
Just what is a hat-wearer hiding from? The sky? The Cosmos?
Probably the Cosmos. If fiery darts rain down upon the hat-wearer, the hat will take the hit first a split second before the rest of the non-hat under it becomes a cinder. If insults are lodged that way, one is only insulting the hat/person, because they are conjoined at the head and head concavity: you are insulting the fashion statement, jaunty it may well be.
If "Follow Me" were to be embroidered upon it, you must first discern whether this is the exact beginning of the Third Testament, the "Newest Testament." Just don't expect miracles, unless the hat is a tophat with its cunicular geometry rendering leporine necromancy. Hat, yes; but sleeves? Anything up them? "Hey, Rocky, watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat!"
Thus, you follow the head under the hat, which has already chosen the rabbit hole, Lilliputians ready to intercept you on the other side with malintent. Watch your head, because the most unfashionable hat-wearer is one without one. And the person who wears many hats is just lost in confusion. So there.
When I visited colleges, most of the tour guides I followed were walking backwards talking to our group. I suppose as long as one is guided to an unknown place by another, this counts as following no matter what because in either case they are proceeding to that point in front of you.
The question is if you want to follow the backwards walker. On one hand, they may be able to lead backwards because they have ninja-like reflexes, or some kind of second sight. In this case, you definitely want them on your side, and you should follow them as a form of appeasement. On the other hand, they could be very stupid for believing that walking backwards is advantageous over walking forwards. Perhaps you should question if following this urchin is really what you want to do.
The more pressing question is can you follow someone walking backwards? If you don't know where to go and you can't see the person you're supposed to follow, how do you know where to go? How can you check to see if you're still behind the one wearing the hat that says "follow me". You can look over a shoulder, but then are you truly backwards? You peek anyway, only to discover the individual with the hat is gone, but you are walking behind another. Maybe its the same person but they took off the hat, or maybe its a different person entirely and you're lost. There's really no way of knowing. Maybe it's time to man up and walk forward next time, or perhaps not. You ended up exactly where you needed to go. Was this the plan all along? For just a second, the man with the "follow me" hat reappears and gives you a grin that's hard to place, only to walk backwards into the crowd and disappear.
I watched You Un-age
Peeling off the age spots
Unwinding and releasing
In every reversed step
film rolls backwards
Rites of passage revisited
I am here
Let's go forward now