Sundry Thoughts Amid Snow and Cold (from way back in 1999!)

(Since we have been busy getting our house listed for sale this past week, I dug back into my archives and found an assortment of items that were originally published way back in February and March of 1999.)

Item #1: Maybe I’m turning into a fuddy-duddy, but I have a real problem with the lack of hat (as in headwear) etiquette that I have been noticing of late.

I’m a big fan of hats. When I say this, I don’t mean baseball caps, I’m referring to fedora-style headwear. When I was in college, I wore one constantly. My mother’s father (I called him “Pop”) even gave me the majority of his hats from his days as a salesman for Fairbanks-Morse, which were the envy of my fellow college students.

These stylish hats are making a resurgence in popularity. My problem, however, is that most people seem to have forgotten hat etiquette. It is not, nor has it ever been, appropriate to wear a hat indoors – whether you are in someone’s home, in a restaurant, sitting in a doctor’s waiting room, or whatever. It is disrespectful and rude.

While I have been bothered by instances of rude hat wearers for some time I was particularly dismayed this past Friday night when I tuned in the television to watch Homicide, a superb show which both Barb and I enjoy immensely. Lo and behold, in this particular episode, two detectives, nattily attired in wide-brim fedoras sat in a witness’ living room while still wearing their headwear! To make matters worse, this Sunday morning as I was readying for work at the bookstore, Andrew and I were watching Sesame Street and two of the Muppets were wearing hats inside a house. This is not acceptable behavior!

The only exceptions to this rule, that I am aware of, are the following:

1) A hat may be worn in places like a shopping mall. While it is not absolutely necessary to remove your hat when you enter a store, it is considered polite to do so.

2) A hat may be worn in the lobby section of an office building and even on an elevator as you make your way to your destination. However, as soon as you enter an individual office, your hat should be removed.

3) If there is a legitimate medical reason for you to be wearing a hat.

4) Religious requirements

If there are other exceptions out there I’d be happy to hear them. For now, however, if you are going to wear a hat, do so with courtesy and if you don’t know whether it is acceptable to have it on your head or not, err on the side of caution and remove it. You’ll look good even without the hat.

Item #2: Buster Mitchell, 28, of Knoxville, Tenn., has had a bad stretch of luck. First, Buster was “jilted” by his girlfriend (note: this is probably the only instance, in all the writing I have done in my life, that I have ever had the opportunity to use the name “Buster” and the word “jilted” in the same sentence, and I have the distinct sense that this is not a sign of progress on my part).

Like many men whose lives are largely dictated by excess levels of testosterone, Buster decided he wanted to get even. Unlike virtually every other man on the planet, Buster determined that the best way to accomplish this feat was to marry his 1966 Mustang GT. So Buster went to the county clerk’s office and applied for a marriage license.

Defying all stereotypes to the contrary, the clerk immediately recognized that something was amiss. Buster listed the bride’s father as “Henry Ford” and stated that “her” blood type was “10W-40.” The county clerk denied Buster’s application.

Commenting on the rejection Buster said, “In California they are doing same-sex marriages. So we are here in Tennessee. Why can’t we do the good ol’ boy thing and marry our cars and trucks?”

So what I’m wondering is this: Could anyone else, other than a “good ol’ boy” from Tennessee, possibly equate same-sex marriages with marrying one’s car or truck?

Item #3: Toll Brothers, Inc. is a major developer in California. They are particularly noted for constructing homes that feature four-car garages. Commenting on this feature, company spokeswoman Kira McCarron said, “In Orange County, the attitude is that three-car garages are for poor people.”

So what I’m wondering is this: In Tennessee, do they call four-car garages the master bedroom?