Wednesday, December 07, 2011

The Man Makes the Hat

I find it easy to miss the effort and labour and thought that goes into so much of the Human world, the sheer work that people do to make things good for me and the rest of us, being all of us. Sometimes something odd strikes me and I do look, and I do go out of my way to inquire and see for myself the detail of the maker, i.e. I go into someone's home or workplace where I interrupt the worker and demand answers to whatever questions I might have. “Who are you? What are you doing? Do people love you for your work, or are you anonymous and forgotten as soon as they leave with your work in hand?”
Work, as much as family, is the meaning of life. For some, work is sewing beads onto fabric in elaborate patterns so others can parade in public in wonderful grandeur. In Latin America, such people who sew such things are Bardados. I've met three such people now in Peru, and others in different nations, all of them mad as hatters. I would guess that is co-incidence.

When I see parades and look at the costumes and banners people have, I think of the men and women who sit for uninterrupted hours and days stitching and sewing and gluing bits of stuff to fabric, to sheets and shoes and wood and plastic, who must go blind early, who seem to go strange in the mind from so much solitude. But, assuming others value the work if not the maker, such things will last for a long time, longer, I would guess, than the makers themselves.
I'm a hat guy, myself, mostly because I use a hat to keep the weather off my head so I don't go baked and loony. But beyond that I think of hats as making the man into a public figure among men, a man wearing his identity for all to see in wearing a hat of a certain style.

None of us dress simply for the sake of weather. We all dress because we want to say something about ourselves to others. This is not a hat for me, but for those who do wear them, and who say to me that they care about themselves and their community, I thank those who lose so much to give so much to us all. We're all passing through, of course, and few of us will leave any mark at all. Maybe just a hat. Good enough.

See also:

A gentle reminder that my book, An Occasional Walker, is available at the link here:

And here are some reviews and comments on said book:

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