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.
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