I think of this as a Father’s Day story because it’s almost certain that my two adult children won’t like it. But I could be wrong, as they well know.

Humans are generally good at naming, labeling, and acronyming things. Some people and organizations are better at these things than others, but coming up with ways of naming, marking, signposting, and otherwise distinguishing one thing from another is part of our basic wiring, part of how we manage ourselves.

For example, when Ellen and I prepare to take a walk in the neighborhood she usually walks to the closet by the front door and reaches for her visor on the top shelf. When I see her there, I often say, “Would you hand me my CAP cap?” When I make such a request, she knows exactly what I’m talking about.

My CAP cap, a favorite because I think it's funny.

My CAP cap, a favorite because I think it’s funny.

Depending on the weather or time of day, I may make a different choice, maybe taking my Tilley hat for sun protection, or on infrequent occasions here in Texas my wide-brimmed rain hat, or on a chilly day my navy blue wool cap.

Bald guys like me have to have lots of hats. I keep hats not only in our front closet, but in our cars, and on a shelf in the garage so I can grab one as I head outside to trim trees or do other landscape maintenance. A wide straw hat for this work serves as a helmet of sorts, keeping branches from scratching my face, or poking me in the ear or eye, or saving my scalp from bad scrapes when I raise up and bang my head into an overhanging branch. It’s hard to overestimate the importance of hats to me.

But my Cap cap, which I purchased at a garage sale a few years ago, always triggers my imagination when I see it and wear it. It made me laugh the first time I saw it, thinking its developer had a sense of humor. It is possible that CAP stands for words such as Connecticut Apple Pickers, or Civil Air Patrol, but I doubt it. I just think it was made to be funny. To label the cap for what it is.

My CAP cap always makes me think about a new system of labeling clothing. While this may be a billion dollar idea, I’m offering it here free to any budding or established entrepreneur who is looking for the “next big thing” in clothing design and marketing.

The idea goes like this: What if we all could choose clothing that is labeled prominently somewhere on the garment to tell everyone exactly what it is? Shirts could have the word “shirt” boldly printed across the back or down one sleeve. Pants could say “pants” across one thigh, or the word “slacks” could be printed across the seat. Dresses could be printed with “dress” in large letters above the front hem. Likewise, shoes could be labeled “shoe” across the toes or back of the heel. Outerwear could be embroidered accordingly as “coat,” “glove,” “jacket,” or “scarf.”

If this idea takes off and boldly labeled clothes sweep fashion runways and department stores, just remember you read about it here first. Whether this happens or not, just the sight of my CAP cap causes my mind to race along at the possibility that the crazy idea above could really happen. This is only one example of the novel ways I amuse myself, with my mind sometimes running off on a tangent without me being able to stop it.

Related posts: Big Ideas and Do I Control What I Think?

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