A couple of quick stories (And a tad more Santa Fe)

July 3, 2009

#1: I walked into a custom hat shop one day in Santa Fe, hoping to find a crazy shop that made tons of different kinds of hats (hopefully with optional pom-poms on top?). Instead, I found shelves upon shelves of mesmerizingly beauitufl ten gallon hats. There was a guy there in one such hat with a magnificent southern drawl and a fantastic blonde ‘stache. He showed me some price ranges for the hats but guessed that I was probably looking for something a little underneath the 400$ range. It was understanable, since they were woven from real straw and other materials from Panama, and also really nice looking. I was a bit let down, but we ended up having a great conversation anyway. He told me a bit about himself and the business–he apparently worked in a small custom hat shop as a kid just because it was a job, but he ended up falling in love with the process and kept with it all his life till then, 20 years or so. He told me that there used to be tons of hat shops all over the place just a few decades ago, even one on every street corner in NYC. Then, sadly, they started dying off because of the new mass-manufactured hat producers. Nowadays, he said, there’s hardly two dozen custom hat shops left in the US–none in NYC now, apparently. And the machinery used to make custom hats is crazy expensive due to almost nonexistent demand, so it’s incredibly hard for new shops to start up. (This shop’s owner bought his stuff from nearby shops that went out of business a while back.) After a bit more talking he pointed me towards another hat shop that was a little more on the cheap side. Good guy.

#2: The ending from a short story that I wrote in mid-high school. I noticed this while looking through some old journals and kinda liked it. The entire rest of the story is a pretty boring scene between a nearly-dead old guy and Death, as the old guy’s entire world fades before his eyes into pure white from the view of a rocking chair on his porch. I mean, I like the concept, but the conversation was really, really crappy. Like if Death was Morgan Freeman, except he didn’t have a script and had to improv some fancy-sounding generalizations about life and death. Or something. ANYWAY:

But he did not cease to exist. Not yet. This was evident by the showing at his funeral, three days later. It was a fairly small affair–mainly just his immediate family, the ones who found him asleep at the porch one last time. A few other friends appeared, as well, mostly from a nearby town where the man went to get his groceries. However, for a family man with such a small-scale life, it seemed odd for an apparent stranger to come to such an event. The man’s wife felt she should know who this stranger in the jet black suit was. “An old friend,” he replied after being asked.

Another woman tapped him on his shoulder and asked, “Do you know what he died of?”

“Nonchalantly, he said, “He died… of happiness.

(that last line sucks SO BAD AGH)

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