Questions in Search of Answers in 2019

By Edward M. Bury, APR (aka The PRDude)

Will the Mueller investigation lead to more indictments? What will happen in the Middle East once the U.S. pulls out armed forces? Does the recent volatility of the financial markets mean another recession is on the horizon?

Heady questions, yes. So, I’ll let people who are a lot smarter offer projections.

Here, in this final PRDude post of 2018, I pose questions of a much more pedestrian nature. Dull and trivial perhaps to many, but the following topics have been on my mind recently.

Brim Backward Hat Wearing. Initially, I thought the practice of wearing a baseball-style cap or other headgear backwards was a fad. I even addressed the topic in a 2014 post and include a poll seeking answers as to why someone would adhere to this (in my opinion) silly concept.  An online source offers a tangible reason for the occasional reverse-brim option: To keep the brim out of the way while performing a task. Yet, based on anecdotal evidence and regular day-to-day perceptions, the trend continues unabated virtually everywhere and by anyone.

Question: Why the heck do people continue to wear caps backward, especially those with the plastic adjustable device that resembles a racing stripe across one’s forehead? And, furthermore: Why is this “cool?”

“Thank you” to canacopegdl.com for use of this image. It was “no problem” to download.

“No Problem.” No, “You’re Welcome.” Assuredly you’ve been responded to with the colloquial phrase, “No problem,” during interactions with retail clerks or just during everyday conversation. I find this phrase maddening, because it’s eclipsing the proper and more sincere, “You’re welcome.” Through a quick online search, I found a linguistics blog that attempts to address the origin of “no problem,” and I found references of disdain for the phrase’s use going back to 2013.  Plus, it’s equated to the Millennial demographic.  A personal occurrence: Last weekend I called a restaurant to make a dinner reservation. I asked for 7:30 p.m. The lady on the other end of the phone replied, “No problem!”  Why not just say, “Yes, we can seat you at 7:30 p.m.”  Exclamation points!

Question: What factor(s) led to the preponderance of the phrase, “No problem,” in society today?  And, furthermore: When will it stop?

Vape, Vape, Vape That… More than 70 years ago, a country and western novelty song addressed the bad stuff that can happen by smoking cigarettes.  Yes, people still smoke ciggies and cigars today — but use of vaping pens and vapor devices made by companies like Juul Labs (rechargeable via a USB port, I learned) has grown exponentially in the past five or so years. Perhaps you wonder why grown adults (and reportedly lots of kids) inhale from what looks like a thumb drive, then exhale a cloud that would rival that of a dragon.

Question: Will vaping replace cigarette smoking in the immediate future? Furthermore: Who will produce the first pop song that expounds on the joys (or dangers) of vaping?

There.

I eagerly will monitor developments on these three issues in the 365 days ahead.  Your thoughts are welcomed and encouraged.  And now, with 2019 some eight-plus hours away, I’ll have no problem adjusting my baseball cap backwards while I step outside to enjoy a few moments to contemplate and vape.

For Chrissake! It Was Holden Caulfield Who Created the Baseball Cap Worn Backwards Craze

By Edward M. Bury, APR (aka The PRDude)

As an Accredited public relations professional, I certainly understand the value of research — both primary and secondary.

So later, I will post a short survey to develop some primary research on a subject that has been screaming for analysis: Why do people (mostly young men, I believe) wear baseball caps backwards?

Yes, in all seriousness, I have pondered this question for decades.  I want to know who initiated this practice and why people continue to support it.

After all, a baseball cap has a nice brim designed to keep the sun out of your eyes. Why turn it backwards, especially if the cap has that unsightly adjustable strip on the back, making the “backwards” practice unattractive to the wearer?

Catcher oneBut I stumbled upon evidence that provided some insight.

Look at the depiction of anti-hero Holden Caulfield from the cover of J.D. Salinger’s American classic novel,  “The Catcher in the Rye.”  This Signet paperback book — which has a original price of 50 cents — features an artist’s interpretation of Holden, suitcase in hand on some street in The Village, wearing his red cap — with the brim turned backwards.

As Holden notes in Chapter 3, “I took off my coat and my tie and unbuttoned my shirt collar, and then I put on this hat that I’d bought in New York that morning.  It was a red hunting hat, with one of those very, very long peaks.  I saw it in the window of this sports sore when we got out to the subway, just after I noticed I’d lost all the goddam foils.  It only cost me a buck. The way I wore it, I swung the old peak way around to the back — very corny, I’ll admit but I liked it that way, I looked good in it that way.”Catcher two

Eureka! Some evidence, and from the disturbed mind of a fictional 16-year-old privileged kid from the Upper East Side.  Granted, Holden’s garment was a “hunting” hat and not a baseball cap.

Still the correlation makes sense: It had a brim and he wore it in an unconventional manner.

Now to the survey; please take a moment to complete what I maintain is the first and perhaps only survey regarding the “backwards” baseball cap practice.

I’ll share results soon.

By the way, on eBay, my vintage edition of “Catcher in the Rye” — the one featuring Holden wearing his “old peak way around to the back” hat — is worth $5.99!

To me, it’s priceless.

Before the beatniks, before the hippies, a fictional renegade named Holden Caulfield lived life — well 48 hours of it — his own way.  Including his preference of head gear.