March 13, 2014
The first bike helmet wearers (racers, and yes, men) didn’t exactly look like they were having fun. They wore their leather helmets (called ‘hairnets’) grudgingly and considered them good for one thing: keeping the skin on their ears in the event of a roadrash-inducing pavement slide. Thankfully, we’re in a different era of helmet utility and safety these days.
Yet most people may not yet think of wearing a helmet as fun. Safety and fun haven’t always snuggled together comfortably. Until, that is, perhaps, the era of Dr. Seuss.
“I know it is wet and the sun is not sunny, but we can have lots of good fun that is funny.” – Dr. Seuss, The Cat in the Hat, 1957
Seuss’s cat knew something about making fun – breaking rules, pushing limits, but trying not to go too far. And you could say that Nutcase founder Michael Morrow was in a Dr. Seuss frame of mind when he impaled a bunch of rubber duckies to an old helmet shell to wear to a football match between his favorites, the Beavers, and their rivals, the Oregon Ducks. That first helmet was the inspiration for a new way to think of helmets – not as a boring, absolutely have-to-wear encumbrance, but as a crazy, creative, absolutely have-to-have item of personal expression.
That’s funification. Or at least, that’s the Nutcase definition of it.