Friday, February 12, 2016

Too Cool for Coats

(post copyright 2016, Dawn Weber)

He's a straight-A student. He took talented and gifted classes. He scores in the 96th percentile or higher on all standardized tests.

Nonetheless, I'm starting to doubt his intelligence, because it is 18 degrees outside, and he's not wearing a coat.

So I ask him, "Hobo, why aren't you wearing a coat?"

But my son, in all his talented and gifted wisdom, informs me that a coat isn't necessary when has a sweatshirt.

"I don't need a coat when I'm wearing a hoodie," he mumbles, shuffling out the door.

This conversation takes place at 6:30 b.c. --before coffee -- and I don't yet have the wherewithal to collar and force outerwear on the boy. It's Friday, my one weekday off, and he's clearly used to me not being there. Monday through Thursday he can amble out the door wearing whatever he wants. Which is apparently close to nothing.

I guess a Hobo cares not what he wears. And I call him that for a reason. He eschews fashion and, up until recently, avoided any sort of personal hygiene. Smart as he is, he sometimes needs direction when it comes to matters of wardrobe.

It's not just him. There's a trend, nay, a downright epidemic of coat-free adolescents all across America. I see them when I drop the boy off at school, walking in hordes, shivering and shaking and hustling frantically into the school building because it's what? Freaking cold outside.

Now, as my loyal readers (all seven of you! I love you guys!) may remember from my post last year, I feel very Get off my lawn! about the new-fangled "cold-weather cancel" in which school is called simply because of chilly temperatures. Like I said, when I grew up, classes were only canceled on account of snowy, icy roads - never cold weather alone. I spent many a sub-zero morning cursing this fact in our driveway, as my hair froze solid under the hood of a wonderful invention called -- you guessed it -- a coat.

However, after last year's post, a few of my teacher friends informed me that the reason for the cold-weather cancel isn't part of the rampant wussification of American kids, as I'd guessed. It's because of unfortunate children, many of whom don't have -- or aren't wearing -- coats or warm clothing.

Now, my heart goes out to any child who truly doesn't own appropriate outer-ware. In fact, send those kids to our house. We have several unused coats available.

But after five years of fighting with my own kids to wear jackets, I'd be willing to bet good money that many of the children who don't wear coats aren't doing so because of a lack of money. They're doing it to follow the crowd. To look cool. 

And they look cool, alright. Downright frozen.

They are just too cool for coats.

But as the Hobo informed me, when one has a hoodie, one need not be concerned with vagaries such as "wind chill,"  "frost bite" and "certain death," no sir. One can just march out the door, ride to school and shuffle inside, unless it's canceled on account of cold weather and kids without coats and . . .

. . . Wait a minute. Wait just a minute.

Fact one: School gets canceled because kids aren't wearing coats.

Fact two: My kid refuses to wear a coat.

Mystery: solved.

That boy is smarter than I thought.


  1. I see kids waiting for the bus wearing shorts when it's freezing out too. Of course that attire wasn't allowed when I was in school, even though it was a public school. Shorts were for gym class only.

    1. same here, Jojo. Oh what I would have given to wear shorts on those 90 degree days without air conditioning...

  2. And even if they do wear a coat, they leave it hanging open.

  3. Ah ha. Maybe so! My brother never wore a coat as a kid, but not to look cool, because at religious grade school, where we went (rarely six kids per grade), survival was far more important than "cool". "Cool" wasn't allowed by our teacher, who hopped desktop to desktop laughing hysterically, swatting flies. He loved to kill flies. We knew he was the psycho we'd seen in nightmares, and we had to go there every day. Survival was our "cool". Hobo one day will not care if he's cool or not.

    1. Sounds like the Dead Poet's Society. Was your teacher Robin Williams?

    2. I remember that in Dead Poet Society, the desktop thing. Ha!

  4. I think that trend started when my kids were going to high school - mid 90's. The boys wore as little as possible. No boots, just sneakers. No hats, no gloves. WHY, LORD, WHY? Our son, now in his early 30's, has just started wearing a toque and gloves the past few winters. I hope you don't have to wait that long for Hobo to come around!

  5. Have you ever tried telling him NOT to wear a coat? "Whatever you do you should absolutely NOT wear a coat." Don't know if it'll work, but maybe it's worth a try.

    1. A little reverse psychology. I love it, Jono!

  6. Sigh.
    How I wish it was coat weather here. And I don't wear them either.
    School was never cancelled for our (rare) cold days. Nor for the hot.

    1. It is February in Ohio, EC. I'd gladly trade with you!

  7. My son stopped wearing a coat in about 1997, when he was in high school. He never wore a coat in college. If it's really cold, sometimes he wears a ragged jacket. I gave him a nice, plain black jacket a couple of years ago. He's never worn it, not even when we went to see Garrison Keillor last year. I asked why he didn't wear the jacket I gave him, and he said he was more comfortable in the ragged jacket. Idiot. I love him so. When I was in high school, we had one day canceled because it was so cold that the power company told everyone to set their thermostats at a lower temperature. I guess some of the classrooms were cold.


  8. Blessings.....
    Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm..............i want to say many things and instead choose to say nothing.

    Have a fantastic week.