Monday, October 22, 2001

OK. It's time to come clean. After 29 years of living on this crazy, mixed up world, I'm going to tell you the truth: I have a big head.

This truth was brought home to me by a seemingly innocent cowboy hat.

My friend Bindlestick Billy had himself a cowboy hat that I really liked. I would drop subtle hints about how much I liked this cowboy hat, by saying things like "I sure like that cowboy hat", or by forcibly taking it and wearing it all day, deaf to his cries of "but I've got hat head!" and solemn oaths to seek vengeance for my hat-thievery.

One note about this hat: It kind of makes me look more like Bono than I already do, which is not necessarily a good thing.

So I would wear this hat whenever I got the opportunity, but it would leave me with a red line on my forehead, not unlike a line that would result from being whacked repeatedly with a shovel. But what to do? I resolved that, much as the prospect pained me, I would have to swear off wearing the cowboy hat forever.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, Bindlestick Billy came to visit me, and gave me the hat. Of course, I was excited to see my old friend the hat again (and Billy of course), but I knew the telltale forehead line would not be far behind. So I went out to find a western store to stretch my hat. My first stop was The Grant Boys. The Grant Boys is a store in the land of fake boobs and superficiality known as Newport Beach, California. What immediately attracted me to this shop is the fact that it has a giant sign in the shape of a six-shooter that says "GRANT'S FOR GUNS" on it. If anyone could stretch my hat, it's a place with a giant particle board revolver.

Sadly, they were of no use at all. Apparently all the cowboys in Newport Beach have garden-variety, normal sized noggins.

Tearfully, I took my business elsewhere. Like all well-prepared ersatz cowpokes, I had prepared for my hat-stretching mission by researching potential stores on the net. I had a couple of more places I could go, and so I took to the road in my very authentic Old-West car. It's a little-known fact that most cowpokes drive VW Golfs with "Cthulhu Saves (In Case He Gets Hungry Later)" bumper stickers on them.

I zoomed off towards Santa Ana, where legend had it there was another western store, that would be only too happy to help out a large-craniumed hayseed like myself. I swear to you that I followed the driving directions with an attention to detail not usually observed in non-cyborg drivers, and yet I still couldn't find the damn place. To be honest, my attention to detail is somewhat confounded by my almost total lack of any sort of sense of direction. I could get lost going from the bedroom to the bathroom. I blame Yahoo! Shopping for that particular bout of ineptitude, a policy I am going to institute for use anytime I get lost driving, which is a near-daily occurrence. At least getting senile won't be too much of a change.

So I toodled around for a good two hours, through the charming streets of Santa Ana, where happy young gentlemen flicked lit matches at me and offered to give me directions by poking switchblades menacingly in the correct direction.

Finally, I gave up and went to Boot Barn, which is what the vacuous individual at The Grant Brothers had told me to do in the first place. Boot Barn is very cool. Great for all your hat-stretching needs. And they did it for free.

But it's still too small for my giant head.


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