In my last post, I mentioned something about wearing hats on those bad hair days. If greasers all around the world share one trait, it would be the extreme aversion to being seen in public de-pompified.
The pomp, being the greasers' badge of honour and source of pride, requires a lot of maintenance and care. The absolute devotion to the pomp is the at the core of being a pure Rockabilly.
Quality hair products are damned expensive. With the price of a good quality can of grease being 15 to 20 bucks, and a good half hour of time required to get pomped up just right, it just doesn't seem worth it just for a quick trip to the 7-11 or a beer run at the local liquor store.
It just seems more convenient to slap on a hat and go get yer shit done. With all the the dumb hats out there ( hippies seem to have an inexhaustible supply of really ridiculous hats) it's hard to find the right one.
Over the years, I've owned various hats and here's a partial list.
1. Big Ass Cowboy From Oklahoma.
On my way to Texas a few years ago, I stopped in Tulsa, OK just too look around. While fishing around in a truck stop, I spotted the biggest, baddest cowboy hat I had ever seen. This thing was huge!
I had to have that hat. It was all curvy and almost blocked my vision. The brim went down low and all you could see was my chin. The back of the brim almost touched my shoulders. The huge feather sprouting from the hat band completed the look of this hat.
Now you could walk around Tulsa with a hat like that and nobody would bat an eye, you would even receive tacit nods of approval, but I was living back East then and that was a different story.
On my way back I was fine until I got to Ohio; that's when I started getting funny looks.
By the time I got to Montreal, I could here snickering and the odd "tabarnac!"
I couldn't walk down the street without sarcastically being asked by strangers where my horse was.
I just kept it for doing shows with my band. We had a pretty big show coming up and I was going to wear that hat.
The night of the show arrived and the MC stepped up the microphone. He honestly thought we were from Texas and announced that to the audience.
We did the show and rocked the house. I subsequently got really drunk because I was nervous from playing such a huge room.
I have a hazy memory of being in the band room. Two Quebecois groupies were asking me if I was really from Texas. I remember saying, " Hell yeah" as I simultaneously groped their asses.
Last thing I remember was staggering home in full cowboy regalia, garnering many honks from passing vehicles.
I lent that hat to my drummer and he promptly lost it. I sure miss that hat.
2. The Smaller Cowboy Hat.
Having moved out west, I eventually decided to buy another cowboy hat. Nobody blinks when you wear a western hat in these parts and it's great for keeping the sun out your eyes.
Wearing a western hat will often cause people to nickname you "cowboy"
The squares downtown seem to find it amusing though. I've played many a country song, so I figure that I've earned the right to wear that hat, and all my friends from Alberta like it, so that's good enough for me.
There's something about a cowboy hat that makes you want to swagger. For some strange reason, I also develop the urge to drive really tiny ridiculous cars.
3. The Trucker Hat.
Now these aren't too cool but I think every dude owns at least one. These are perfect for forays to junkyards out in the sticks. You won't scare the yokels.
They are invariably threatened by anything different, and showing up there with a pomp is sure to elicit more than a few shouts of "fag!"
To avoid getting into a rumble far from home with angry, toothless hicks, it's best to always keep a trucker hat in your car.
To really fit in, a John Deere hat is specifically what you need.
As an added bonus, if you wear it sideways, hip-hoppers and skateboarders will talk to you and call you dude.
4.The Poor Boy.
A timeless classic, a quality poorboy goes with anything and can be worn indoors without looking idiotic. It can be worn with a perfecto style leather jacket or nice vintage threads.
It seems to perplex squares, however. The female squares seem to dig it and think you look "retro" or like old pictures of their grandfather.
Other squares have alluded the fact that I should taking bets for horse races or maybe selling newspapers on a street corner.
You can be cocky when you were a poor boy. You can feel free to refer to your friends as " youze mugs"
Cops never seem to pull me over when I'm wearing a poorboy. I haven't been so lucky with other hats,
A leather jacket and a pomp is just a heat score for cops. It attracts them like yellow jackets to a sandwich.
Next time you are drunk in public, just whip on a poorboy, nobody will notice that you totally hammered.
5. German Bike Helmet.
As much as I hate bike helmets, I occasionally wear them. Usually on booze cruises. I pack a six pack on the bottom of my pack, helmet on top and a six pack on top of that.
When I get through the first six pack, I plop on the helmet, keep riding and get to the other six pack.
If you're gonna wear a helmet, it might as well be a cool one. I found a German-made kayaking helmet that was pretty cool. Although it was flat black, I thought it needed something, so I painted an iron cross on it.
This amused some German tourists that I met to no end. They proceeded to tell me about Rommel's grave and how his head stone was shaped like an iron cross.
It attracted the attention of a cop on a Harley ( see earlier post, Tales of the Enviro-billy) as I was haulin' ass on a gas powered bike. He obviously thought that I was a goof, so he pulled me over. I walked away with a $600 ticket for no registration,
After a bunch of "achtungs" from passers by, odd looks, and a few scowls I got rid of the iron cross and replaced with a circle that has the number "13" in it.
That seems to perplex people even more.
6. The Hard Hat.
I once found a white hard hat in a rental truck. Through my work, I often find myself on construction sites and I don that hat when I go to a site.
I walk around with the white hard hat and a set of rolled up drawings under my arm and people assume that I am a boss of some sort.
Once, some anxious owners of new condos in the process of being built asked me permission to enter the site.
I gave them permission and gave them bogus directions to the main entrance ( because I didn' t have 0ne clue as to where the freakin' entrance was).
I walked around unopposed on many sites , breezing through restricted areas and going wherever I wanted.
Another time I diverted traffic. There was construction in front of my place and a large steel plate had been placed over an open excavation. The cars going over the plate were keeping me up at night.
I waited for the crew to go home. I grabbed a safety vest, white hard hat and a shovel.
I went into the street and started moving pylons around to divert the traffic. Drivers obediently moved into the new lane that I had created. I shoveled a bunch of gravel under the plate and went home.
I had a good night's sleep and nobody was the wiser.
It is amazing what assumptions some people will make based on a 10 dollar plastic hat.
7. The Fez.
Very few people can pull off the Fez. Usually the purview of Shriners, a Fez brings up visions of drunk guys in the sixties or strange rituals down at the Shriner Temple.
I've seen a Shriner parade. They are a strange bunch and anybody crazy enough to ride a phalanx of snowmobiles on dry pavement sending sparks flying everywhere, has earned the right to wear a Fez.
I usually feel like wearing a Fez after half a bottle of bourbon. I develop a strange urge to ride little tiny tricycles.
I have included some proof.
That's about all the hats I can handle. Tell me about your hats. Adios for now.