I often wear hats outside on the playground at school, and on walks, to shield me from the sun. Recently I bought a broad-brimmed one made of thick straw, that I fancy looks really cool when cocked at a certain angle, especially when I'm using my snake-carved walking stick, too. (My wife and I jocularly refer to my hat and stick as my "affectations".)
      The catch is that the brim of this particular hat often cocks back up while I'm walking, so silently that I'm not even aware of it. And when the brim is up, I look so nerdy that I give yokels a bad name.      The way the situation plays out, I'm likely to be thinking I'm cutting quite a swath passing a group of people, when in actuality everyone who sees me wants to ask, "Where's your mule, hayseed?"
      Isn't that the way it is with the ego? We think we're waxing brilliant when we're actually making fools of ourselves. Or we really are doing brilliantly and then the slightest turn veers us off course and we're behaving idiotically, without even noticing the change.

a fine Billy Collins poem about hats

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