I was wrong

For the record, I want to confess that I have been wrong. More than once.

One of the first times I was wrong was in 1954. The nation was swept by television dramas about Davy Crockett (king of the wild frontier). Suddenly, Davy and his song were everywhere. An American folk hero. A pop icon. Like every other six-year-old, I wanted a Davy Crockett coon-skin hat. Imagine my delight when these hats finally appeared in the five-and-ten on Allen Street. I persuaded Mom to get me one.

When Davy wore his hat, he conquered the frontier, vanquished wild beasts, and used his wily cunning to thwart foes. Ads convinced me that owning a hat like Davy’s would solve all of life’s problems. I believed the ads. I was wrong.

Crockett Hat

The real hat was a supreme disappointment. First, it wasn’t as big and robust as the hat Davy wore on TV. It seemed puny and had a strong "vermin" vibe. Wearing it was much like having a dinky pet perched on your head. My hat was too hot to wear for long. It smelled funny. The floppy tail got in the way. And it dispensed no fashion cachet since every other kid on Hamilton Avenue was wearing one.

This Davy-Crockett-hat experience was my first encounter with hyperbole—exaggerated claims far beyond reality. It was probably good to experience hype at such a young age. A good introduction to modern life.

In the years that followed, I met extravagantly over-the-top claims for musicians, politicians, movies, products, restaurants, sports teams, religions, desserts, and much, much more. A pattern of over promising and under delivering that pretty much defines the American way of life. Thanks for the lesson, Davy.

Dear reader, when did you start to become a skeptic?


For the record, I was wrong on many other occasions. If you are interested, maybe someday I’ll tell you about heated-car seats, chocolate-covered pretzels, and the Diatype.

Don—Pittsburgh, June 9, 2022


6 Responses


June 19, 2022

Lisa, you beta me to it. Sea Monkeys for sure. Brine shrimp look nothing like the neptunian characters depicted in the ads. And they sure don’t wear pearl necklaces or wander around with tridents. X-ray Specs, I still need to order those. Are they for real?

Tammy Busby

June 19, 2022

I live in the Alamo City and Davy is one of my favorite heroes of the Alamo. Before he came down to fight he lost his bid for either Senate or House of Reps and he told his constituency, “You can all go to hell, I’ll go to Texas.” I would say that it would have worked out better if he’d just bought some Calamityware and called it a day, because he died here.


June 12, 2022

I was wrong once in 1956. I lied and told my little brother that a nickel was worth more than a dime because it was bigger. He gave me his dimes and I gave him the nickels.
Not nice.

Ted Manekin

June 12, 2022

I loved my coon-skin cap! I also had the Old Betsy plastic rifle that Davy carried (Okay, his was wood and metal). I felt invincible as I wore my cap and carried my rifle. I was the envy of Ranny Road, and I kept away all marauding bears.


June 12, 2022

How can I get a print of the bear pic?? Love it!


June 10, 2022

SEA MONKEYS! I’ve not trusted an ad since, except for fast food.

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