austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

The moment that he touched the hat the room began to glow

``Only in the movies'' came the warning atop the title card, which was a relief. I wouldn't be responsible for whatever would follow. What would be described ought to happen only in a movie, or in front of a movie camera operated by movie people making a movie. While I was at a movie, I wasn't in a movie, so I was free to act in ways not specified. Plus I wasn't quite at a movie since the movie hadn't started. I figured I was safe. I have these outbursts of optimism.

``Despite a mountain of evidence to the contrary'', came the text, ``people in movies think that trying on hats is fun.'' And now I was stuck. I don't habitually wear hats, what with it being after 1962's discovery by the ``long-haired'' Beatles that males could have hair extruded a whole inch from the skin without heads bursting into flame or whatever the problem with long hair was. But the habit of hat not-wearing means I have a habit of hat not-trying-on. I can document three instances of me hat-trying, but this can't be called a habit, and neither can the hats, so don't think I didn't have that one in mind, since I didn't, and can't explain its presence. Please treat it as a hallucination until a proper cover story can be written.

Still: if there's fun to be had trying on hats, then why wasn't I having it? But if there's not any fun to be had trying on hats, I wouldn't be missing out on anything if I didn't try on hats, unless I have that the wrong way around, and what if I never found out that I didn't?

The first question: how much does it take to make a mountain of evidence? Well, a mountain, certainly, although right away we're in trouble since there's such a range of mountains. (I'm leaving that phrase for potential future development.) Mountains can be found worldwide, from Himalaya through to the Dust-Covered Cheap Toys And Small Mountains aisle in the typical convenience store, between off-brand Rubik's Cubes and keychain Etch-A-Sketches. Well, a mountain is evidence for a mountain, so we can start out writing ``one mountain = a mountain'' on a clean sheet of mountain-evidence paper.

Then take any other mountain, which is just one mountain as well, unless it's several mountains. If it's several mountains peel one off and leave the rest for later. Since this is a mountain again, we have a second mountain equal to the first through their both being a mountain. So happily we don't have to worry which mountain we're trying to assemble into evidence; we can take the first one that we reach. Let's hope it's a small one.

But all this reasoning doesn't tell us how many hats amount to one mountain, or how to translate evidence of hat-trying to evidence of mountain-being. Sure, a hat is a hat-sized piece of evidence and we can see how many hats build into a mountain by volume, but how about by fun? And there are levels of fun. Trying on a straw boater is more fun than trying a beaver hat, just from time saved not recovering from angry beaver clawings.

But top hats beat both, especially top hats from cartoons that keep popping up and down. Top hats also beat chef hats, since in a chef hat a series of comic misunderstandings is bound to leave you stuck in the kitchen responsible all evening for spelling ``béarnaise sauce''. More fun than all those are tricornes, which you can't start trying on without wild adventures putting you in the Vaguely 18th century or becoming a Lord Mayor.

Thinking isn't helping, so let's go to the hat store and ask the first person who comes out, ``How many hats would you have to try on to have as much fun as you have evidence for a mountain?''

He pauses, and says, ``I've never seen a mountain. But it's 3,410 hats to one lacustrine plain, if that helps.''

``It does indeed, thank you,'' and now we know better.

Trivia: Harry S Truman's ``gents furnishings'' store, Truman & Jacobson, opened in November 1919 with an inventory valued at about $35,000, of which Truman put up $15,000. Source: Truman, David McCullough.

Currently Reading: But Didn't We Have Fun? An Informal History Of Baseball's Pioneer Era, 1843 - 1870, Peter Morris.


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