'Twas back in around '72, I think, that I came up with an idea for an ultimate go-to-hell hat. I wanted a hat like Dr. Seuss's character the Cat in the Hat. Keep in mind this was years before the popularity or even the idea of making or wearing such hats outside the storybooks was known.
I was a problematical seventeen-year-old in those days, getting into all sorts of devilment, so it came as somewhat of a pleasant surprise when my mother agreed to whip up such a hat on her sewing machine. And so she did.
It flopped around too much until I just stuffed some newspaper in the top, and after that it rode on my pate half-falling over and half jauntily upright, just like the Geisel character. So I started wearing the crazy thing, and my goofy friends liked it.
One day I forgot it over at a friend's house. Well, out of sight, out of mind, and I didn't think about until about a week later. So I went over there to retrieve it but the door was locked and no one home. Every time I went by. And no one knew where my friend had gotten off to. He had vanished. I figured I'd get it back sooner or later.
I don't remember how much time went by. It could have been a whole year, or only a month or so. I finally ran into Mike and he told me the bad news: his landlord had kicked him out for nonpayment, and had held his clothes for ransom, including my hat.
So I never saw my hat again.
Years later I became aware that this same sort of hat became popular among a neo-hippie set particularly tied to the Grateful Dead traveling roadshows. Also known as Deadheads.
I still wonder what happened to that hat. Did it find its way to someone who appreciated it? A second-hand store? Or did it go pretty much to the trash when the Evil Landlord decided at some point to dispose of Mike's things? I like to think it found its way to some Deadhead, who started the whole trend. And for this, some say I owe the world an apology. But I'm not sorry at all.