Old tech sometimes the best tech

I fixate sometimes on the oddest little, most inconsequential things. Maybe because I’m a deep, contemplative person? Nah. More likely just because I have the time to indulge myself and let my thoughts wander.

My fixation this time is coolie hats. I know, I know, “coolie” is a derogatory term in many circles. But that’s the only name I’ve ever heard for such hats. After consulting Wikipedia, I’ve learned they are also called conical Asian hats, paddy hats, rice hats, or sedge hats. Yet it seems most retailers still resort to “coolie hat” to nail their descriptions.

Anyway, so I was out walking the dog and saw a man mowing a yard. He was wearing one of these hats. And for the rest of my walk I pondered their simple brilliance.

They are basically one size fits all. They provide all the sun protection advised by health professionals and often more, completely shading the wearer’s head, neck, and sometimes even shoulders. They provide similar protection from rain. Their woven construction is light and airy, and they are usually made from renewable, biodegradeable materials. Most come with ties of some kind, so they can be secured in windy conditions. And finally, if you want to buy one, there are countless designer variations in shape, color, and decorative touches.

Is it any wonder these simple hats have endured since the time of the ancient Egyptians? I may have finally discovered the perfect hat for Denver’s intense high-altitude rays.

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