If you ever get a chance to peek in someone’s closet, metaphorically, you can be certain you will find a purple hat. A purple hat is the thing they are willing to spend an unprincipled amount of money or time on. It’s something even their dearest friends find frivolous or potentially neurotic. If you question it, they assume a defensive stance. If you criticize it, you’re barraged by finger-pointing directed at your own purple hat.
Remember Imelda Marcos and her shoes? When pressed, she declared, “I did not have 3,000 pairs of shoes, I had 1,060.” Oh. Alright. Never mind, then.
Luckily, what cannot be justified can be rationalized.
Marcos really couldn’t see what the big fuss was all about. Staying blind to your purple hat allows you to feel smug when you see others wasting time and money.
The trouble is that recently I tried to write my New Year’s resolutions, and I realized a few of my purple hats had gone bad. Through overindulgence, they had devolved into guilty pleasures. I don’t feel paralyzing guilt over them … just a vague awareness that perhaps I should be spending my time more wisely.
Top of my list is TV and all the unedifying programs I watch. I used to rationalize an hour with “The Young and the Restless” by watching an hour on the History Channel. But “Ancient Aliens” is brain candy, not brain surgery.
Have you ever noticed that all the major inventions in this world were done prior to cable TV? Agriculture, brewing, the wheel … would we have achieved these heights of civilization in HD clarity?
So my resolution is to give up high resolution. I’m excited to see what I can achieve with all the extra time. Don’t be surprised if you hear I’ve invented zero-calorie chocolate or time travel or peace in the Mideast. But whatever I achieve, don’t look for it on TV!