Hats off, hats on

The hatted one stands in front.

We recently got the go ahead at my office to wear hats. Strange as it may seem, for my first eleven years there, we had to remove any chapeaus upon entering the building. This was a rule laid down by the owner himself. When I started, I was a software developer and had grown accustomed to wearing a baseball cap while I coded--pretty standard practice among developers. It took nothing less than a steel will to remain hat-less while furiously tracking down a production bug.

hen one Saturday I found myself in the office. I'd had a deployment moved up a couple days and knew I'd have to put some weekend time in to hit it. Truth was, I'd been wracking up a ton of hours. At the time, things were happening at a crazy pace, and getting code out the door fast was paramount. Irritated that my services were required on a beautiful Saturday, I strolled in with my University of Arizona baseball cap, sat down at my desk, and without removing it, started working.

Time started to fly when I suddenly heard footsteps walking down the aisle. Weird, but not the first time I'd seen another developer in on the weekend. Then the owner of the company--did I mention this was a Saturday?-- strolled up to my desk. He looked at the baseball cap on top of my head and said, "Do you feel strongly about wearing that cap in my building?" I took a deep breath and decided to vent just a little. "Well," I said, "I figure that since this is a Saturday, I'm actually here working for you on my time. And since that's the case, I feel I should be able to wear my baseball cap."

He sized me up while I read his face for any indication as to what he was thinking. Unfortunately, the guy has a better poker face than Gus Hansen. After what seemed like an eternity, he said, "Okay. I'll let you wear it today only." With that, he left. I lifted the hat with one hand, wiped the beads of sweat off my brow with the back of the other, and then re-perched the hat on my head. With the slightest of grins, I started back at it and knocked out some of the best code of my life.