The Scents of Silence 8.23.04
In my hands I hold the world’s stinkiest cap. It’s ungendered and named Stinky-Cap. It is an old St. Louis Rams cap—old as in from the 1998-99 season, when I temped for the NFL for a couple of weeks. It’s blue and sits low on the head. And it has years of softball and running and general use under its bill.
I suppose I should get rid of Stinky-Cap; just the other day I tried to wash it and it came out stinkier than before. That is of course because I didn’t put it in the dryer, and perhaps it was damp for longer than it should have been. I plan on rewashing it; but I have worn it once or twice since, hoping passerby will attribute the smell to the hardworking, sweat covered fella underneath the cap.
My cap is a good cap, even has a hint of the sweat line frat boys get under their “Cocks” or whichever hats, you know, the white ones with red lettering, frayed at the edge of the bill, a yellow shoreline built up over the years. Stinky-Cap accompanied me on my 3.75 mile run this morning, shading me from sunlight and prying eyes.
My cap is my trusty assistant for coming tennis excursions with young ladies such as Tusi’s little friend and the one of the many Erins still in New York and one day with that curly haired Ochs kid. Because tennis with young ladies is an excellent way to… embarrass myself and make them laugh, which is a normalizing occurrence for me.
I’d play with young men but Eben has his blacktop hockey and I don’t know anyone besides Joel in Cali who gets into playing tennis.
Stinky-Cap is now tossed on top of an unused sleeping bag, airing out, with a hint of Febreeze to de-funkify its life for tomorrow’s tennis excursion with my father, where, like he did when I was 12, he will yell at me to turn my body and to finish and to stop trying to kill the ball and to hit deeper and to calm down. Ah, sweet memories of hiding the middle finger behind the racket. Only Stinky-Cap and I will be able to see.