My girlfriend spent $20 on a pirate hat for me to wear to a party. I gave her crap because I didn’t think I’d ever wear it more than once. Then, three months ago, a guy named Daniel, who’s involved in lots of cool parties, had a “phat hat” party in the Clairemont area. A couple weeks ago, I had the chance to wear my hat again.
At the phat hat party, I walked in and noticed a few guys wearing Afro wigs. There was also a guy with an In-N-Out Burger hat. People danced in the living room. I saw some kegs and bottles to make drinks on the kitchen counter.
A few guys were playing “flip cup,” the popular drinking game. Someone joked that it wasn’t a “regulation flip-cup table.”
I talked to a couple in the kitchen. The guy was wearing a Chewbacca mask. He said he’d bought it in southern Brazil. The woman with him had Minnie Mouse ears. I said, “You didn’t get those in Brazil, did you?” She smiled and replied, “Nope. Got ’em at Disney for the kids I babysit. I borrowed them for this.”
Someone nearby wondered aloud if John C. Reilly made the Chewbacca mask popular because he wore one in Step Brothers. His friend said, “I doubt it. Did more people buy ‘Hulk Hands’ after the Christmas scene? I don’t see anybody wearing either.”
One guy had a Trojan-style hat. He said he got it from his brother, who ran in the Rock ’n Roll Marathon. A guy next to him had an Uncle Sam top hat, with politicians’ names written all over it.
One person had on a crazy outfit based on Dan Aykroyd’s character in Spies Like Us. He told me, “These pants are so heavy, I needed suspenders. Some of this was made at a leather shop in Afghanistan. It was done for a Halloween costume. Even with this real sheep fur, the whole thing only cost me ten dollars.”
A drunk guy came up to me and said, “Are you supposed to be that cartoon character?” I replied, “No. I’m just wearing a pirate hat. I figured it was better to wear a weird hat than to wear one of my baseball caps.” He said, while slurring, “I know what character you are. You’re Captain Hook Nose Jew.” He laughed before stumbling off. I leaned into the woman next to me and said, “My nose isn’t that big, is it?”
I walked to the backyard to smoke a cigar. A guy walked by me with a soccer-ball hat. I lit up and someone said, “What are you smoking?” His girlfriend elbowed him and said, “It’s a regular cigar. Calm down. Do you have to smoke pot every day?”
A guy with a hat made of newspaper walked by. Someone said, “If you get too close to that cigar, you’re going up in flames.”
A few guys had on do-rags. One of the guys who wore one talked about Obama playing basketball. I said, “Richard Nixon had a bowling alley put into the White House. Do you think Obama will get a basketball court in there?” Someone else added, “Presidents can do that? So…if a president likes archery or wants a shooting range, that will be put in? What about a president that likes Pac-Man or Donkey Kong? Will there be an arcade made out of the Lincoln Bedroom?”
The other hat party was at the Ould Sod on Adams Avenue a couple of weeks ago. Local musician Sara Petite was filming a video for one of her songs. My girlfriend was going out with some friends, and I told her I’d be getting another day’s use out of the pirate hat. She then suggested I wear the raccoon-head hat that she was given from her grandmother. I thought it would be a better fit for Petite’s type of Americana music.
I wasn’t wearing the hat as I walked down Adams. And I’m glad I didn’t have it on when I walked into the Ould Sod. Most of the crowd was sans hat. I saw a few baseball caps. A bartender had on a funky multicolored cowboy hat, but that was it. As I walked to the bar for a whiskey sour, I noticed a few other cowboy hats.
I took my drink to the back of the place and slipped my hat on. It took about an hour for the band to get going. At one point, Petite apologized for the technical difficulties.
I asked bartender Tony Finglas why he wasn’t wearing a funny hat. He said, “I’m not a hat guy.” I said, “I am. Anything to cover up my receding hairline I’m all for. Especially this thing of fur. It feels like hair.”
I talked a little to Petite before things got started. I said, “What’s the better ‘Sara’ song? Hall & Oates or Fleetwood Mac?” She responded, “What about Jefferson Starship?”
The fur of my hat was making me scratch my head. I was sure Petite thought I had lice or something. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw someone wearing a train conductor’s cap. I looked over and saw a fuzzy leopard-print cowboy hat.
A woman walked up and told me she liked my hat. She added, “Raccoons are fun to play with, but you wouldn’t want to keep one as a pet.”
I overheard a couple trying to decide whether to see Milk or Defiance. The guy said, “A movie about Milk? That just seems weird.” His friend said, “You know that’s the name of a politician; it’s not a movie about the dairy product.”
The bar was packed as the musicians tuned up. A guy with a huge camera was set up behind the bar.
My racquetball partner Wayne showed up with a Wayne’s World cap on. He told me Petite sometimes works behind the bar. He said, “When things get busy, I’ll try to confuse her with weird, bogus facts. I once told her the Dalai Lama has an extensive shot-glass collection. She said, ‘Really?’”
Petite told me Loretta Lynn heard her CD and said nice things about it. We talked a little about Dolly Parton, someone whom Petite gets compared to (because of her songwriting!).
They started filming, and the band mimicked playing the instruments along with the music. Someone nearby made a reference to Ashlee Simpson, who was caught lip-synching on Saturday Night Live. I think when it’s a video shoot, people understand why it’s necessary.
It was a nice treat not to have to listen to the same song 20 or 30 times while they shot different camera angles.
The song “Little House” was a lot of fun. The crowd started dancing, and the band was really into it. Between takes, the fiddle player would go up to her husband and cuddle with him.
The crowd was asked to pack in closer together. Before walking out, I took one last look at the band. I couldn’t believe they were able to get a drum set, stand-up bass, and all the other instruments into the tiny corner of this bar.