A word about hats
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Author:  JamesGifford [ Mon Apr 14, 2008 10:34 am ]
Post subject:  A word about hats

The megabytes of correspondence exchanged by the organizers and various third parties in the two years leading up to the event contain many references to hats. As these references are likely to leak out in these reminiscences, a word about these metaphorical toppers might be useful.

To "put on a hat," as in some sort of temporary expertise or authority, isn't a unique phrase. "Fred, we have a payroll problem." "Okay, let me put on my payroll hat... now, what's up?" But we turned it into something of an art form...

I think I dragged this cliche into the mix, and I got it from a specific source. There was a famous advertising man, I forget exactly who it was, who actually kept a huge hat rack in his office. When someone had a question about, say, a gas station account, he would actually go get the service station attendant's hat and wear it for the discussion. Ditto for fireman's helmets, workmen's caps, etc. This was back in the day when ALL men wore hats.

In the Centennial effort, there was only a handful of us and a helluva lot of hats. So my cliche about "who has the registration hat" or "I'll put on the logistics hat sometime this weekend" spread to all the organizers and became a useful shorthand code for who was doing what. (There was, unfortunately, no hat for running in circles screaming. We could have used one of those. Or two.)

Since few attendees and only a couple of organizers had ever met me in person before the event, there perhaps aren't many who wondered why I wore a brown fedora all weekend. I wasn't then a regular (real) hat wearer, but on my way out the door to the airport I snatched up my beloved HJ and anyone who reviews their photos of the event will have trouble finding a pic of me without it. (Except at the Gala - even I wouldn't wear a brown hat with a charcoal suit!)

My raffish brown lid was there to represent, and honor, the dozens upon dozens of hats the organizers wore to get the event to completion. And now, for not entirely unrelated reasons, I am a regular hat wearer in daily life.

And if you'll now pardon me, I have to go put on my chef's hat. Family is hungry.

Author:  JackKelly [ Mon Apr 14, 2008 10:48 am ]
Post subject:  Re: A word about hats

Author:  JamesGifford [ Mon Apr 14, 2008 11:14 am ]
Post subject:  Re: A word about hats

That's the one. It's a Herbert Johnson - the original model for the Indy Jones hat. UK made, very difficult to get on this side of the pond.

It's been joined by two (Aussie-made) Akubras, a steel-gray Federation (looks much like the HJ) and a charcoal Sydney I wish't I'd had to wear at the Gala.

All are too hot for California summers so my fancy new custom Panama better get here shortly. :oops:

Author:  BillPatterson [ Thu Apr 17, 2008 9:01 am ]
Post subject:  Re: A word about hats

And I should put in print somewhere, where people can see it, that Rita Bottom has given you one of Heinlein's two Borsalinos -- the crushable/collapsible travel hat he used for world travel. She gave it to me to give to you, and it's in Santa Rosa where I can't get to it or I would have ferried it to the Centenial.

Anyway, now everybody knows.


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