When Bad Fashion Trends Refuse To Die

12 years ago–in other words, a decade and two years ago…or 15 minus three years ago!–Dave Barry noticed an alarming trend, in his back to school column, which thoughtfully began:


Summer vacation is almost over, so today Uncle Dave has a special back-to-school ”pep talk” for you young people, starting with these heartfelt words of encouragement: HA HA HA YOU HAVE TO GO BACK TO SCHOOL AND UNCLE DAVE DOESN’T NEENER NEENER NEENER.

Seriously, young people, I have some important back-to-school advice for you, and I can boil it down to four simple words: “Study Your Mathematics.”

I say this in light of a recent alarming Associated Press story stating that three out of every four high-school students — nearly 50 percent — leave school without an adequate understanding of mathematics. Frankly, I am not surprised. ”How,” I am constantly asking myself, “can we expect today’s young people to understand mathematics when so many of them can’t even point their baseball caps in the right direction?”

I am constantly seeing young people with the bills of their baseball caps pointing backward. This makes no sense, young people! If you examine your cap closely, you will note that it has a piece sticking out the front, called a ”bill.” The purpose of the bill is to keep sun off your face, which, unless your parents did a great many drugs in the ’60s (Ask them about it!), is located on the FRONT of your head. Wearing your cap backward is like wearing sunglasses on the back of your head, or wearing a hearing aid in your nose. (Perhaps you young people are doing this also. Uncle Dave doesn’t want to know.)

So to summarize what we’ve learned: “FRONT of cap goes on FRONT of head.”

Got it, young people? Let’s all strive to do better in the coming school year!


Flashforward to 2005, and David Bernstein observes that few have learned the other Dave’s important lesson (did I mention Uncle Dave wrote that 12 friggin’ years ago?):

Who would have thought that twenty years [Note: 20 years is eight more than 12 years!–Ed] after I, as a teenager, thought it looked cool to put my baseball cap on backwards (was it a Beastie Boys thing? Who remembers…), that youths, and even some adults (saw a guy in his 30s yesterday), would still be doing it (though there seemed to be a break for a time in the late ’80s and mid ’90s). Folks, the bill is on the front for reason, to shade your face from the sun. And it’s soooo unclassy. Can you imagine Cary Grant wearing a backwards baseball cap? Please ladies, boycott the gents who wear the cap backwards, or at least tell them how silly it looks, and end this travesty for good. Perhaps a simple, “you know, David Bernstein had that look twenty years ago,” will do.

And as I wrote two years ago, “the only guys who can pull off a backwards baseball cap are MLB catchers, rap stars, SWAT snipers and 12 year old kids”–and odds are, you and I don’t fit any of those profiles.



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