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Mad Hattress changed my life

Posted: 16 Sep 2005     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:cap  mat hattress  frank burge  hat  collection 

When I was a lad, my dad and all the men in the neighborhood wore felt hats in the winter and round straw hats in the summer. The hat biz was a booming business until John (Hatless) Kennedy came to town. When he was inaugurated president in 1961, the hat went out of style—fast. Caps were in, hats were out.

Since the time my hair went south, I have been a cap person and have had a collection of favorites, likely an ego play to let my neighbors know I'm a traveling man. Caps are conversation starters, as in: "Where are the Apostle Islands, anyway?" They are in Lake Superior. I have Chicago Cubs and Harry Caray caps, but not a cap from my Southside favorites, the White Sox. Come to think of it, I haven't been to a Sox game in 58 years. Luke Appling was my all-time favorite player. And I have Fog City Diner, Boston Marathon, Peggy's Cove and a bunch of other hats on the rack in my home office.

Recently, a woman from one of Silicon Valley's boom-time companies cashed in her stash and called it quits. Looking for something to do, she opened a hat store in our town, appropriately named the Mad Hattress. I bought a Panama hat.

In all the years I've worn caps, I have never heard anyone say "nice hat." But in the three weeks since I bought the Panama, I've had six or seven compliments. When we went out to dinner with our septuagenarian friends recently, I got two "nice hat" salutes while we were waiting for our table. That's when my friend's wife urged him to make a trip to the hat store. Fat chance, since he figures hats are for show-offs. He wears a weather-beaten golf cap.

But my newfound hat fetish has created a few problems. My hat is too small and looks goofy perched atop my bald head. My spouse says I look like an idiot. Whenever we go out, she gives me the "you aren't going to wear that hat" look. But I take the hat. And, lately, whenever we go out to dinner, she suggests I leave the Panama in the car. She's just doesn't understand; she's not a hat person.

- Frank Burge

EE Times

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