From Halloween on, my wardrobe consists of corduroy pants, gym pants, Irish sweaters and hoodies.

That’s it. That’s my signature costume, but the most important part is the hoodie, one of my beloved collection of 14 hoodies. The hoodie not only warms the head, but keeps the neck toasty, not to mention the pouch where you can store almost anything — wallet, grocery list, cash and cellphone. With sunglasses and scarves, ear buds connected to nothing, the hoodie seals me off from unwanted conversations in the market, especially when I have the flu.

With that adornment I float though the aisles from cabbage to cookies, wine to water, unmolested.

Most people know who I am and just smile as they slip past me.

“Feeling under the weather, J.P.?” I nod and shuffle off.

The funny downside is that I’ve noticed that whenever I enter Walmart or Home Depot, the security cameras all start swiveling in my direction. I can just sense dozens of security buzzers going off and alerting them to my presence in the tool department. Sometimes I even play off of that, pulling the draw strings closer, pulling up my jacket collar. I start that L.A. street kid shuffle I learned on the streets. Six months of snow can do that to you.

I understand. In recent years, largely because of the Trayvon Martin case and subway iPhone snatchers, the hoodie has gotten a bad name as the costume of choice for gang bangers and urban drive-by thugs, drug pushers and most recently, rebellious students protesting budget downsizes in the Tibetan Art Department.

Okay. Maybe my choice of the hoodie is to play the role for a few minutes. It gets boring in Hannaford on those icy, dark days.

But it’s sad that such a useful garment is being disrespected. Those of us hoodie devotees, and we are legion, need to restore the once much vaunted reputation of the HOODIE!

Most folks are sadly in the dark about the history of the hoodie, thinking the word comes from “The Hood,” evoking the image of a dark sinister “hood” where felons lurk in dark hallways, ready to pounce on little old ladies. Very Hollywood, but not accurate.

You might be surprised to learn that the hoodie probably first came into fashion with the first Christians, who wandered in the Sinai preaching. That sun can get pretty hot, and the nights are freezing. That’s when the hoodie was first invented, probably by the wife of one of the Apostles who said, “You’re going out in that night cold, you’re gonna wear this on your head. You’re not bringing a cold into this house.”

And so the hoodie was born. But they didn’t call them that then. There was no word for hoodie in Aramaic.

As all of us who studied with Sister Rosanna in grade school know very well, the monks of all orders, Benedictines, Franciscans and others wore hoodies.

The Trappists were the coolest. They wore really heavy, itchy brown robes, and at first they were cut with simple cowls about the neck. Then, after long hot days in the fields, one of them, probably a future Jesuit, got the idea to lengthen them into hoodies.

But where did the actual name “Hood” come from? It is my personal belief, and that of many English scholars, that it started with “Robin Hood.”

I know it’s tempting to suggest that because Robin was considered a bandit, that that is where “hood” as in gangster, came from. That’s cute, but false.

It was because Robin and his Merry Band wore hoods to disguise themselves when they ventured into the towns.

And here’s the kicker. If you look at some of the early paintings of Robin and his men, they’re not wearing hoods. But wouldn’t you know, that Hollywood would get into the game?

When Michael Curtiz started production on his superb 1938 “Adventures of Robin Hood,” starring Errol Flynn, he set costumer Milo Anderson to work on authentic costumes, and when they needed disguises for the merry band, Milo invented the monk robe with hoods.

Thus came the hoodie.

I’m thinking of writing a book on the subject. Your thoughts?

J.P Devine is a Waterville writer

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