You need a hat!


You’re not supposed to spend the whole weekend getting ordered around. That’s what workdays and bosses are for. Yet, the girlfriend and I found that the surly greengrocer and bus driver weren’t the only ones who thought they were the bosses of us. We also went to the IGA, where a new cashier was being trained, and somehow we were the ones who got yelled at as a result of her mistakes. Frankly, it was a relief to go to that Louis C.K. show, where for once, we gave the orders. “Do ‘Hot Pockets’!” we yelled from our table in the back.*

But the weirdest bossing-around happened on the way to the library to return a copy of Sarah Vowell’s Assassination Vacation on Saturday afternoon. A chill wind was blasting up Pape Avenue right into our faces. “My forehead is freezing!” my girlfriend complained as we crossed the Danforth.

I looked over at her. “You need a hat,” I told her, smug in my toque.

An older lady walking by us at that moment wheeled around at just that moment. “You need a hat!” she exclaimed, bursting out laughing. “She needs a hat!”

“Yeah!” I shouted over my shoulder as we quickened our pace, leaving the old woman laughing from under her tam o’ shanter. “She needs a hat!”

We hustled into the library. I could have dropped my book through the slot on the outside of the building, but I wanted to give us a chance to warm up and let the crazy old lady go on her way. I dropped the book on the counter, and we went back outside. Good. The lady was nowhere in sight, and the crosswalk was green. We ran to catch it, partly to avoid standing on the corner in the cold but also to avoid the old lady, if she was still around.

Suddenly, the old lady burst out of nowhere and grabbed my girlfriend’s arm, horror-movie-style. “You need a hat!” she cackled.

“Thanks!” yelled my terrified girlfriend, wrenching her arm free. We ran out into the intersection, narrowly avoiding being hit by two turning vehicles, and fled up the street into the subway station.

One the one hand, this was clearly one dotty old bird. On the other hand, she was giving incontestably good advice. From now on, this is what I want from crazy people: sage counsel, crazily delivered. It’s more useful than what we’ve got now. I like my street loonies value-added.

The next time I see this old lady, I want her to yell out, “You need a family doctor!” and laugh like mad. Then maybe she’d scream, “You need a diversified investment portfolio!” and shit herself or something.

* * *

* We didn’t really, but we wanted to and expect it would have gone this way:
Us: Do ‘Hot Pockets’!
Louis C.K.: That’s Jim Gaffigan.
Us: Oh. Do ‘KFC Famous Bowl’, then.
Louis C.K.: Patton Oswalt.
Us: Okay. Just talk about your four-year-old daughter’s vagina, then.
Louis C.K.: Okay.

7 Responses to “You need a hat!”

  1. 1 Candace

    You forgot to mention the other crazy guy who recently came out of nowhere and yelled in our faces for no apparent reason:

    Nutjob: JEEE-SUS!!!

    Peter: Bless you!

    That was the best possible response. You’d say “gesundheit” to anyone else.

  2. 2 Scott

    Candace! Your response to “You need a hat!” should be to put on a hat.

  3. Man, I feel like a nerd because as soon as you mentioned Louis C.K. and Hot Pockets, I immediately said to myself… but Jim Gaffigan does Hot Pockets…

  4. 4 Adrienne

    I [heart] Sarah Vowell — her new one The Wordy Shipmates is a bit tough in places (those wacky Puritans, with their niggling schisms), but I’d still love to spend an evening chatting with her in a pub somewhere.

  5. Adrienne: I’ve got The Wordy Shipmates on order. I was disappointed by Assassination Vacation but only because, upon cracking it open to the first page on a bus trip to Kingston, I realized I’d already read and enjoyed it.

    Scott: Candace’s actual response was to fashion a makeshift hat out of a scarf by wrapping it around her forehead, so she did pretty well under the circumstances.

    MC: I hope you said it in a high-pitched, sotto voce, Gaffigan-esque manner: But Jim Gaffigan does Hot Pockets!

  6. 6 KD

    On a freezing cold day in NYC with our collars up and our hands deep in our pockets, a bag lady jumped up and screeched,”I know what you’re doing!!” while pointing at my friend’s crotch. I think there’s a definite link between cold and crazy.

  7. Unfortunately I did… and then I called myself a weirdo before singing the jingle again in that voice.

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