Ryan asked his goofy friend Pat to write a blog. He told him to “just write something about hats.” So he did.
History is full of people. Alexander the Great. Catherine the Great. The Great Gatsby. In reality, these people were good, not great. The true greats of the past all had one thing in common. They all wore hats.
Don’t believe me? Let’s take a look at a few of history’s greatest hat-wearers.
Abraham Lincoln was the Prime Minister of America from 1861 to 1865. It was a difficult time to run America, because some states were still into nasty things like slavery. When you wanted people to make big changes, you had to have a civil war. This was before the internet, even dial-up.
Lincoln wasn’t the first Prime Minister of America, and I don’t think he’ll be the last. But we remember him because he knew how to make history. When something needed changing, he’d throw on a hat and a lady’s coat, and set about changing it.
Abe had a great influence on those around him too
Lincoln managed to end both slavery and the Civil War, thanks largely to his hat. According to the Smithsonian, he’d store important papers in his hat to keep them safe from the weather. He’d fling his hat down to drive home a point, or if he felt like doing a spot of busking.
Lincoln had a lot on his plate, between ending a civil war and making a film with Steven Spielberg. But he never forgot his favourite hat.
Speaking of which, here’s Lincoln’s famous silk hat today:
Lincoln's famous silk hat today
This is the one he wore to the theatre the night he was killed. Apparently, today it would be a size 7 1/8. A team of top scientists is currently investigating whether 7 1/8 is the “perfect head size.” Better scientists are doing other things.
While little is known about what gave Abraham Lincoln his character and strength of will, we can’t rule out that he derived much of his power from his precious top hat.
Queen Elizabeth II
Old Liz has been the Queen since 1953. Some other things that happened in 1953: colour television, the first Corvette, and Edmund Hillary embarrassing Mt Everest. The Queen’s been Queening for as long as Cyndi Lauper and Hulk Hogan have been alive.
You might not have thought of QEII as a great hatsperson, but her contribution to headwear is undeniable.
Are you seeing these hats?! We might never see a more dynamic player in the hat game.
Oh, and old Liz is about as powerful as it gets. As the sitting monarch, she owns all the swans on the River Thames, plus all the sturgeons, whales, and dolphins within 5km of the British Isles (that’s not even a joke). She’s probably training a dolphin army as we speak.
The Cat in the Hat
So get this. There’s this cat, and everyone’s talking about him. He’s an actual feline – tail and all – who not only walks on two legs but also speaks English. He bounces around, teaching kids life lessons. And everything he says rhymes!
All of this sounds incredibly far-fetched. Except it must be true, because the guy who wrote the story is a doctor. Doctors aren’t allowed to lie – it’s why they have to do so much training.
Look at this guy. He’s balancing a fishbowl on an umbrella, and he’s only got three fingers! Very few cats – even the fancy ones off pet food commercials – would have the coordination to pull off something like that.
Plus he’s delivering zingers about being true to yourself, and helping future MCs figure out their rhymes.
So you’ve got a bipedal, rapping housecat making a real difference in kids’ lives. He’s a real wildcard, and yet what do we focus on?
Robin Hood is many things: a fox; a socialist; sometimes he’s Kevin Costner. He’s robbin’ from the rich, which is a little on the nose given that his name’s Robin. But the people get behind him, largely thanks to his little green hat.
In many ways, it’s a bit odd that a wanted man would always dress so recognisably as himself. You’d think he’d have seen the wanted posters, then tried to make himself look like anything else. Not old Robin. He’s hiding in plain sight.
Robin is one of the most famous archers in history, followed closely by Katniss from The Hunger Games.
Katniss never wore a hat. What a goose.
Robin Hood is one of history’s great heroes. While King Richard was away, Robin made sure Prince John and the Sheriff couldn’t ruin Sherwood Forest and the rest of England. If he hadn’t done that, we’d never have New Zealand and Australia, and then we wouldn’t have Crowded House, pavlova, or those people that row across the Tasman every once in a while and their skin gets all shrivelly. We have a lot to thank Robin for.
Some bonus hat-wearers:
Napoleon Dynamite Bonaparte
Napoleon was the Emperor – of an empire!
Without the hat, he’s just an archaeologist with a whip.
Beatrice and Eugenie
There are no words.
Take another look at that list. What do you see? World leaders. Speechmakers. Fighters of oppression. A cat. All of them making history. All of them wearing hats.
Could they have done all of that without rocking sweet lids? Maybe. But when it comes your time to make history, can you afford to risk it?
You might be raising a child. You may have a gifted friend, family member, or vague acquaintance. Make a difference. Put them on a one-way train to greatness. Put a lid on a kid.
Pat Whatman is currently living in Paris, being an all-round funny guy and blogging for media marketing company Mention. Also be sure to check out his personal blog here.