Tuesday, October 31, 2017


I’ve been sitting on this Rant for about two and a half years, keeping it until I ran out of time to publish my monthly blog.

That time is now.

Once upon a time there were a handful of people who justifiably wore their hats backwards.  They included submarine commanders looking through the periscope (but why oh why would anybody wear a hat in a submarine?); baseball catchers; and some snipers who need to get close to their rifle scope.

But no more.  If you get out much, you’ll see a procession of slack-jawed mouth breathers slouching through the mall--and presumably through life--with their ball caps on backwards.  By actual count it ran 40 percent in an Arizona outlet.  (That’s an indicator of how desperate I can get for blog topics some months.)

The situation persists wherever you go, with the possible exception of military bases though I’m not so confident anymore.

A few examples:

I saw a film clip showing a good-looking thirty-one year-old guy just married to a gorgeous twenty-eight year-old gal.  She looked happy.

He wore his ball cap backwards.  He was thirty-one, ferpetesake!  I was glad for his happiness but it seemed she’d married a dimwit.

One of my wife’s medical shows depicted a young couple in a birthing center.  He wore a hat indoors--in a hospital--and backwards.

He looked abnormal.  And he had just reproduced.

I enjoy Dancing With the Stars, partly in fond remembrance of the long-ago era when my classmate Ellen and I made the finals in an Elk Club dance contest.  (She was taller than I but being a good sport, she still let me drive.)  Yet time after time the TV celebrity dancers, including some females, wear baseball caps to practice—usually backwards.

What’s that about?

An email has been circulating for years showing a college kid at a football game (or something) shading his eyes with one hand.  While wearing his visored hat backwards.

I suspect he required tutoring in order to graduate.  (See a couple of the links below.)

For awhile I wondered if I were obsessing about a pet peeve that mattered little, if at all, to others.  After surfing the net I found that I had company.  Actually quite a bit of company.

This comment from a message board seems typical of many: “Today it’s semi-cheesy and semi old-school but not quite laughable.”

Apparently the phenomenon has been going on since the mid 90s.  If it were a passing fad it would’ve died out by now.

Meanwhile, the trend exists around the globe, though some wag asked: with a fez how would you know?

A South American correspondent reports, “In Chile I've seen youths with baseball hats on backwards.  I've also seen them wearing hats, jerseys and baggy long short pants from three teams in different sports or the same sports but bitter rivals.” 

So we’re left to ponder the basic question:

Why would anybody over sixteen want to look like a fourteen y/o gangsta?

1. Herd mentality?  

2. Mindless imitation?

Apparently the answer is All The Above.

I’ve worked up the nerve to ask a few kids why they wear their hats backwards.  Without exception I got two answers:

“Looks cool.”  (Though they couldn’t say why.)

And more often: “Idunno.”  (At least that’s an honest answer.)

I grew up in the rodeo environment, and you will never see anybody wearing a cowboy hat backwards because:

Cowboys are individualists, not herd creatures.

It would look REALLY retarded.

Besides, cowboys might spit a plug of tobacco on any offender in range.  (One bull rider, certainly a manly man, opined that sissies wear hats backwards.  I didn’t ask him about the absurd notion of wearing a reversed golf hat…)

So there you have it.  A ridiculous fashion trend, without the intellect of a fashion statement, at least twenty-five years and counting. 

See you next month, with something more substantial!

1 comment:

  1. Barrett, I have a humorous story to go with this rant. It's also one of my pet peeves, and a very strong one at that. It started out as a gang/thug thing and progressed to every insecure, wannabe kid trying to be "cool." Anybody who gave you the "Idunno" answer is a liar. See answer number one.

    About 25+ years ago, when I was teaching a police academy firearms course, I gave them a little speech during the classroom part of the course. Two things they would be required to bring to the range would be a ball cap and a pair of safety glasses. I told them that I didn't want to see any ball caps being worn backwards. I emphasized that it really pissed me off, and that if they felt a need to look like a gang banger maybe law enforcement wasn't for them, and they should go join a street gang. That little speech apparently got their attention and lodged itself firmly in their memory banks.

    A couple of weeks later, when we went to the range for a couple of days of live fire training, no one wore their caps backwards. Little did I know they had a nefarious plan. During the lunch break on one of the days, unbeknownst to me, they all went out behind the range building and took a group photo . . . with everyone wearing their cap backwards.

    A couple of months later at the graduation banquet I had just finished making a presentation and complimenting the class on what a fine job they had done, not just in firearms but in the entire academy class. They had been a very good bunch of recruits and students. When I finished and went back to my seat, one of the students asked to say something. My name immediately came up and I was called back to the podium to receive a presentation from the class. Of course he related to the entire crowd gathered there the admonition I had given them about hats.

    Then he presented me with an 8x10 glossy enlargement of their group photo. As you can imagine there was an overwhelming response of laughter and applause from the audience. I gave the class my sincere thanks, and I still have that photo somewhere. I'm very proud of it.