So one of my favorite gifts this year arrived early. The Lovely Bride has been trying to get me a Santa Claus hat for like three years running, and encountering some basic problems:
1) It is too early in the season. Apparently despite the fact that you've been bombarded by Christmas carols on the Muzak since Halloween, the hats don't show up until later. Like after 1 December.
2) It is too late in the season. Near as I can figure, only three Santa hats are delivered to each store, and they disappear within twenty minutes of delivery.
3) No one makes plain Santa hats. Previous experiments involved ones with antlers, and one with a salmon through it. They didn't fit me anyway, so they get put on the stone dragon out front, or on the bronze cat out back.
Yet this year the Lovely B was in the correct spot at the correct time and gave me a hat of the correct size, and I have been wearing it throughout the season, eschewing my normal baseball caps. The results have been interesting to say the least.
- It is a perfect disguise. People see the hat and not me. Had a couple encounters with people who looked right through me. since I looked so unlike me in the hat. I became amazingly invisible. Should I ever launch a multi-state crime spree, this is the hat I will wear!
- Strangers talk to me. Usually it is a "nice hat" kind of comment, but it took me aback the first time it happened. Now I manage a "ho, ho, ho" in response.
- Small children find me amusing. I am asked if I am Santa. I tell them that I am temping for him. That seems to put them in a quandary about my status, since I am obviously not an elf.
- Older friends are merely amused. And these are people who know I wear Hawaiian shirts in the dead of winter! They know for a fact that my fashion sense is not on the same scale as, say, Daredevil's radar-sense or Spider-Man's Spider-Sense. But still, they are amused by this daring fashion choice. It takes nerves of steel to wear a Santa hat
- People think I work there. When I've been shopping, people assume I am a sales person, because who ELSE would where a hat?
All in all, I would say that it is a most successful present, and I am delighted to be wearing it. And the Lovely Bride has sworn she will steal it back and put it away as soon as the season is over, so everyone is spared having to put up with this in June.
Loren Eiseley on Dunsany — and Tolkien - *Loren Eiseley on Dunsany — and Tolkien* So, back when I was working on my Dunsany dissertation I came across a reference to a piece that essayist and thin...
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