If the hat doesn’t fit…

If the hat doesn’t fit…

OK, I’ll admit to not always being on the cutting edge of trendiness. So, when I do venture out of my self-imposed seclusion, I’m often a bit shocked at what I’ve been missing. Or not missing.
 For instance, last week I went to see one of my favorite musicians, Nicole Atkins. Because I prefer musicians who are “on the way up,” the venue was not large. But, the place was packed with beer/music lovers.

And guys with tiny hats.

Yes, that’s right — tiny hats. One can assume that these fellows also had tiny heads, but that’s not for me to judge. Still, the hats were pretty small.

There were so many of these tiny-hatted fellows that, after awhile, I began to think I missed a memo about proper attire for the event.

“Do you think there’s a late-night tiny hat shop around here?” I asked my wife. 
She didn’t think so, but assured me that as long as we paid the cover charge she was sure we’d be allowed to stick around.

In reality, as much as I wanted to hear Nicole in person, I doubt that I would have stayed if management had demanded that I don a tiny fedora. I think they are, well, dumb looking. And, when you get a room full of fellows all wearing undersized hats…it’s not good.

As we hung around in the bar for the music to start — my confidence given a lift by a full-bodied ale — I finally turned to one the mad hatters and asked, “Where do you get such a hat? And, more importantly, why?”

Uh, oh

You’re probably thinking that my next words were incoherently mumbled to 911 personnel as we raced to the hospital, me having suffered a pretty good beating.

Fortunately, the tiny hat fan whose taste I had questioned must have had his hearing squelched by the pressure of a tight-fitting hat.

“Huh?” he responded.

By now I had noticed that this fellow’s biceps were much larger than his headgear. Maybe, I thought, I should lower the risk of an old-fashioned thumping.

“I said, ‘Where did you get your hat — it makes your face look thin?’” I smoothly lied. He smiled and tipped his cap. I quickly melted into the crowd and tried to fit in — as much as I could without the aid of a miniscule fedora to assist my cause.

As mentioned earlier, the concert area was not large, but a lot of people could fit in there — if they were packed tight and no fire inspections were occurring. I realized that it might get pretty hard to see the show, with all those tiny hats sticking up in front of us.

Then, something wonderful happened. Maybe Nicole realized that, since neither my wife nor I were wearing tiny hats, that we were there for the music — not the scene. Right before the show started, she announced, “Let’s make room up front for everyone without tiny hats — so that they can see the show.”

The tiny-hatted folks were very polite and let us (and the other two hatless spectators) move close to the stage. High-energy, great Rock-n-Roll followed.

A few hours later, when the last note had been played, Nicole told the crowd. “Hat’s all folks.” Well, not all, but quite a few.

— Brian Sweeney

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