Saturday, August 31, 2013

The 500 Hats of an Old Dinosaur

    The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins is a children's book, written by Dr. Seuss (Theodor Geisel). A reference I found in Wikipedia said that he collected hats and got the idea for this children's story while seated behind another passenger on a commuter train out of New York. That other passenger, a businessman, "was so stiff and formal that Geisel wondered what would happen if Geisel took his hat and threw it out the window. Geisel concluded that the man was so 'stuffy' he would just grow a new one."

    This story tells of Bartholomew Cubbins who abiding by the law of his land removed his hat only to discover another had mysteriously appeared. Each time he removed a hat, another magically appeared. He was in such violation of the "remove your hat" law that his life was in danger by punishment from the king. After each removal and subsequent appearance of a new hat it became evident that each hat was more ornate than the previous one. The 500th hat was so exquisite that the king gave him 500 gold coins for the 500th hat and granted him a reprieve.

    I only have seven hats so I'm not in any danger of being threatened with death or acquiring 500 gold coins. I was, however, aggressively approached by a man at a karaoke event who genuinely coveted the hat I was wearing. He offered to buy it he wanted it so desperately. My refusal of his offer was with enough aggressiveness to counteract his. I suspect he was nearing the end of a long session with John Barleycorn.

    I was amazed to find how many young women found my fedora such an attraction. Their covetousness was much gentler, though. One even asked if I would bequeath it to her. On several occasions I happily allowed them to wear my hat for a while. How attractive a fedora can be on a woman.

    My reentry to the world of hats after years of truck driver's baseball caps came about when I started singing some of Frank Sinatra's songs at karaoke. I was told by some they thought I sounded like Frank and taking their word for it, I considered a hat similar to ones that Frank wore would be a fitting prop or trademark. (I wore a hat during my teen years until John Fitzgerald Kennedy showed the world that it's okay for a gentleman to be hatless and only recently began wearing one again.)

    The day I bought my first new hat I walked in to the club and answered the curious eyes with the comment that for my second mid-life crisis I considered a new fedora to be much less expensive than a Lamborghini convertible. I've bought a few more since and have been given one by a gent who never leaves the house any more but I have no intention of amassing a hat collection. Even though I enjoy the new look and the reception I get that Lamborghini would be nice.
Or maybe a 'Vette.

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