Parable of the Hats

Once upon a time, a feller named Jack grew disturbed at the number of people running around without hats. Finding hats both useful and stylish, Jack set about to change the trend, to which end he founded the Hat Society “to promote the wearing of hats.” Jack worked hard at helping see the advantage of hats, and the Society grew to the point that they were running on a half-million dollars or so a year, all to promote hats. Now Jack himself had always worn a fedora, but at Hat Society meetings you could find cowboy hats, homburgs, berets, bowlers, baseball caps, tams, even a few propeller-topped beanies.  

Over time, that began to change. The propeller-topped beanies were the first to go, but they hadn’t done much for the dignity of hat-wearing, and nobody really missed them. The guys in berets and tams kinda disappeared a few at a time. A few years later, baseball caps began to get scarce, and that feller in the fishing hat with all the flies on it was asked to never come back. 

Fast-forward a few more years, and there’s an occasional cowboy hat around, but pretty much everybody at the meetings is wearing a fedora. Jack himself is maintaining that a dark fawn fedora is the perfect epitome of hat-ness, and he never wears anything else. At one point, this led to a confrontation between Jack and the board; Jack asked all the non-fedora-wearing board members to resign, which they did.

Some folks claim that back in the day, Jack used to sometimes wear a grey fedora. Others maintain that it was always dark fawn. Nobody seems able to prove it for sure either way, and most of the people who were around back then have long since left. Oddly, it’s not called the Fedora Society; it’s still the Hat Society, and the mission statement still reads “to promote the wearing of hats.” 

Now Jack may be within his rights to promote the dark fawn fedora, and perhaps even to use Society funds for the purpose. But he can’t really claim to speak for the community of hat-wearers anymore, can he? 

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