Thursday, February 7, 2013

A man of many hats

A few months ago, a new guy moved in with me. He shares my office. Sometimes I talk to him. Sometimes I don’t. 

He’s a quiet fellow, with a solemn look on his face, but he seems to have fun, too, donning appropriate hats by the season. 

Earlier this year, when we wanted to cheer a friend who has cancer, my office buddy wore a tie-died baseball cap. Here’s why.

The friend and I once worked in the same office. When we did, she and several of our co-workers wore plastic tiaras once a week, carrying over a tradition begun on someone’s birthday. They called the day “Tiara Thursday.” 

Not one to get all prissy and foo-foo, I refused to wear a tiara with the rest of the clan. 

Instead, I declared, “The day I retire from here, I want a tie-died baseball cap that says, ‘This ain’t no freakin’ tiara.’” 

I have good friends. When I left that job, I got my cap. 

My office buddy borrowed it. 

Another day, I came to my desk to find that the buddy and my grandson had been up to some tomfoolery. My office mate sported a wide-brimmed straw hat.

At Christmas, upon his head was a Santa hat with the words “Merry Christmas” on its brim.

Any day now, I expect to see him with a new hat—pointy, perhaps, glittery, maybe. 

It will bear the words, “Happy birthday.” 

My office buddy makes no annoying noises, doesn’t borrow my office supplies or use my chair without asking. 

He feels at home in my office, surrounded by books, where words bounce both on and off the page all day long and often into the night. 

His copper-toned flesh isn’t flesh at all. It’s plaster. 

His name is Lincoln—Abraham.

I have a feeling he’ll wear a lot of hats through the years.

I suspect that once President’s Day is passed, upon his head I’ll find a leprechaun’s headwear, and, soon after that, an Easter bonnet.

Someday, though, I must get the guy his own stovepipe hat. After all, he needs someplace to store his important papers, doesn’t he?

© Ann Tracy Mueller 2013

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