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Fear of a Hat Planet


Remember SEK’s NEIGHBOR? The one who thought SEK belonged to a gang because of his backward hat? Well, this morning SEK decided it was about time to start watching The Sopranos, and so when he was driving home from the grocery store and saw his NEIGHBOR, SEK thought it’d be a great idea to slow his car to a crawl and give NEIGHBOR a good eye-fucking. The fake neighborhood “police” started driving around until, finally, MR. POLICEMAN — with NEIGHBOR in tow — knocked on SEK’s door.

MR. POLICEMAN: Have you been threatening this man?

SEK: What? No.

MR. POLICEMAN: Is that your car?

SEK: Yes.

MR. POLICEMAN: He says a man in a hat was threatening him this morning.

SEK: (points to hair) I’m not wearing a hat.

NEIGHBOR: It’s you! You have a hat!

SEK: I’m sure I do somewhere. What’s this about, officer?

MR. POLICEMAN: Have you been speeding recently?

SEK: I’ve been in Houston, my sister just had a baby. Wanna see a picture?

NEIGHBOR: He has a hat!

MR. POLICEMAN: So you haven’t been speeding?

SEK: I haven’t even been here.

NEIGHBOR: Ask him about his hat?

SEK: Do you need a hat, sir?

NEIGHBOR: I want to see your hat!

SEK: Officer, should I get him a hat?

MR. POLICEMAN: I don’t think that’ll be necessary. Sorry to have bothered you, sir.

NEIGHBOR looks at SEK. SEK waits until the officer turns around, then eye-fucks NEIGHBOR again.


MR. POLICEMAN: (to NEIGHBOR) We’re done here.

NOT REALLY AN UPDATE: For the record, what I thought was going to happen turned out to be funnier. What’s the point of living life as if it were performance art if it refuses to perform? Sigh:

The fake neighborhood “police” just drove by, and I can’t help but wonder what they’re looking for: “Suspect is an off-white late-model academic, so use extreme caution, he may have an ethnicity. Repeat: he may have an ethnicity.”

(And after they bust in and shoot me, they’ll be all like, “It’s terrible, sir, it’s terrible. The books! THEY”RE EVERYWHERE. On the floor, there’re little ones on the table, looks like he broke their spines. OH THE HUMANITIES!”)


That is, however, only the second-best hat picture I’ve seen recently:

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  • I’m not sure how egging the universe on like that fits the grand scheme of things. Maybe this is why the universe has been going after Loomis lately?

    • Hey, my life has been relatively OK lately outside of a stolen car that if the stupid cops had run the license plate when they were giving it tickets issued a day after it was stolen and are now sending to me to demand payment I would still have instead of having to now make car payments for the next 6 years.

      For me, this is pretty mellow.

      • Bitter Scribe

        You had insurance, I hope.

      • TribalistMeathead

        FYI, if you filed any sort of claim with your auto insurance company related to the theft, they’ll cover the tickets issued after you reported it stolen (as well as, if applicable, towing/storage fees).

        • Well, the car was declared lost and the next day they bothered to call me saying it was found. So it’s the insurance company’s car now.

          • TribalistMeathead

            So they should roll the parking tickets you had to pay into whatever they pay you for the car.

            Assuming going to court with documentation to prove the car was reported stolen when it was ticketed isn’t an option, anyway.

            • Yeah, I have to go to the courthouse, get a copy of the police report and then take it to some other office there. In other words, I need to carve out 6 hours to deal with it.

              • MAJeff

                It’s Rhode Island; don’t you mean six days?

              • Nathan of Perth

                Does the United States even function any more?

                • LoriK

                  Parts of it do, other parts don’t. Which is pretty much how it’s always been. Local and state control means that functionality varies wildly from one location to another.

      • TribalistMeathead

        Assuming I parsed that sentence correctly, but it’s not like you made it easy for me.

        • Stream of consciousness rants are a specialty of mine.

      • SEK

        Sometimes, I wonder if 1) I’m not contagious and 2) Loomis ever regrets joining LGM and putting himself right straight in the disease vector’s path.

        • Tiny Hermaphrodite, Esq.

          It’s his own damn fault for starting the condiment wars.

          • Some nice vodka pancakes will dull the pain.

  • cackalacka

    Obligatory NWH reference.

    • Lee Rudolph

      New World Hoarder?

      • Jordan

        Not … Quite

        • ajay

          Neighbourhood Watch Halliance.

    • GoDeep

      +1, lol

  • eye-fucks NEIGHBOR

    So the neighbor was hot?

    • I’ve heard of skull-fucking a skeletal head, but never fucking the skull while an eyeball was still in there.

      • Atticus Dogsbody

        Eye jelly makes great lube.

    • SEK

      In the South, “eye-fucking” means something different. I think the non-Southern equivalent is when you make a “v” with your index and middle finger, point ’em at your eyes, then point your index at the subject of said fucking.

      • Well, I gathered THAT, SEK!

        I’m not dim all of the time!
        Sometimes I fake it.
        Sadly, too often, it’s real…

        • SEK

          As I, clearly, am an idiot, I don’t see why you feel the need to apologize.

      • calling all toasters

        So what’s the Southern version? Jamming your fingers in your eyes?

  • Malaclypse

    God help you if Farley ever comes to town.

    • SEK

      Brockington’s coming in December. I have a feeling we’ll tear some shit up.*

      *By which I mean, “hats,” the remains of which will be festooned all over my neighbor’s lawn.

      • I dunno. LGM bloggers painting the town beige seems like asking for trouble.

        • “We’re painting the whole town beige.”

          “Even the church?”

          “Especially the church.”

          • efgoldman


  • Be careful if your neighbor calls the real police, SEK.

    He may accuse you of having a hat full of drugs, and make you go to a medical facility for anal searches.

    You’ll be declared an “enema of the people,” like that poor guy in New Mexico:

    • NonyNony

      If his hat was supposed to be full of drugs, why would they probe his…

      You know what? Nevermind. I’m still trying to figure out exactly what the fuck the police in New Mexico were thinking anyway.

      • Glenn


      • One thing they weren’t thinking was “Did anybody remember to re-certify the drug dog lately?”

        • J R in WV

          That was the strangest police story I’ve ever seen. Ever!

        • popehat is all over it

      • efgoldman

        I’m still trying to figure out exactly what the fuck the police in New Mexico were thinking anyway.

        Assumes facts most definitely not in evidence.

  • shah8

    Hey, maybe I can inspire some fear of a HOT planet. Take a look at what is a historically strong typhoon about to completly level the Visayas region of the Philippines.

    195mph sustained, baby.

    • ChrisTS

      Gusts at 275. Jesus.

  • I dunno, “we’re done here” was pretty damn funny.

    • SEK

      I will say, the cop was clearly amused. Especially since the first thing you see when you open my front door is a not-the-least-bit-insubstantial library. I certainly come across as the threatening type.

      • rea

        The cop didn’t actually look at the picture, did he? The one that shows you with a baby and . . . the gangster hat!

        • SEK

          No, he declined. I have an odd feeling he’d have found it funny if he had. “Wait, this is the guy who’s threatening you? The one holding his baby in what appears to be Houston?”

          • nanute

            Well, you were wearing a hat in that picture, right?

            • SEK

              In fact, I was wearing the hat in question, oriented in its most menacing fashion.

              • nanute

                I should have been the cop!

              • rea

                Jeez, more orientalism.

            • rea

              Not just a hat–THE hat!!1!

      • When the cops came to my door during the whole “I have threatened the life of Wayne LaPierre” fiasco, I was not home at the time. My wife was. She didn’t know what the heck was going on. Although she ultimately was not surprised that I had gotten myself into trouble. But she also noted that the living room packed with overflowing bookcases was also the first thing the cops noticed.

        • TribalistMeathead

          In situations like that, it’s much better than having a living room packed with overflowing gun racks.

          • kindness

            You like anal probes?

          • njorl

            I have no trouble imagining that some people would think that having a room full of books was much more indicative that you might go nuts and kill Wayne LaPierre than having a room full of guns is.

            • Rigby Reardon

              Especially in the south.

        • SEK

          When the cops came to my door during the whole “I have threatened the life of Wayne LaPierre” fiasco, I was not home at the time. My wife was.

          My wife’s currently in Italy, so I’m free! Free to be me! Free to, well, crap, do the same things I always do, then write about them on the Internet, where she’ll find out I’ve done them.

          Damn it, I suck at freedom.

          • njorl

            I recommend peeing with the door open. Which door is up to you.

          • rea

            Someone’s got it in for me, they’re planting stories in the press
            Whoever it is I wish they’d cut it out quick but when they will I can only guess
            They say I threatened the man next door and sent my wife to Italy
            He inherited a million hats and when he died they came to me
            I can’t help it if I’m lucky.

            • Anna in PDX


            • SEK


            • Rigby Reardon


          • Halloween Jack

            Do the whole Cruise-dancing-in-his-underwear scene from Risky Business. It means owning a Bob Seger record, but, well, sacrifices must be made.

            • Hogan

              YouTube + private browsing

        • Mike G

          He got books! So we got ourselves a READER here!

          • No necessarily. I have lots of books I haven’t read.

            • Shwell Thanksh

              He’s making another one of those Southern references. I do not know what the non-Southern equivalent of Bill Hicks would be. Russell Brand?

              • Ronan

                Andrew Diceman Clay

              • Aha – I see.

            • Lee Rudolph

              They can come in handy on a cold night, too!

        • efgoldman

          the living room packed with overflowing bookcases was also the first thing the cops noticed.

          Clearly you’re a pusher preying on our youngest and most vulnerable citizens. Give them a couple of free books, and pretty son you’ve got them hooked, spending all their time in the library and their money at B&N.
          Society’s dregs, Loomis, that’s you.

      • Bitter Scribe

        Hopefully your neighbor will now go into the “paranoid nutjob” file, if he’s not there already.

        • SEK

          That’s what I’m figuring. The cop wasn’t taking the threat very seriously. And, since my front door opens up into my library, part of the conversation I didn’t include was about the David Simon book The Corner, which the fake-cop said he’d always wanted to read. I offered to lend it to him, but he said he reads everything on his Kindle.

          Sigh. Can’t even bribe a glorified mall-cop with a book anymore. What is this world coming to?

          • efgoldman

            Given the part of the country where you live, are you positive the neighbor doesn’t believe in second-amendment solutions? Is there a stand your ground law?

  • now what you should do is have an increasingly extravagant and/or bizarre sequence of hats delivered to this neighbor.

    • SEK

      That’s basically Facebook’s judgment, too. This man’s going to be getting anonymous hats “donated” to his doorstep, maybe a few flung in his backyard…

      • zombie rotten mcdonald
        • heckblazer

          I own one of these, and I doubt you can top it for threatening. (I’d link a photo of me wearing it but that kinda defeats the purpose of pseudonymity)

        • Hogan

          The only thing we have to fear is . . . that.

      • Helmut Monotreme

        I hope said paranoid neighbor isn’t in possession of an arsenal? And I further hope he doesn’t feel the need to ‘stand his ground’ at some point. I’m not trying to concern troll, it just sounds like the dude is totally the kind of person who would react in that manner.

        • catclub

          I think not. The type with an arsenal probably does not resort to calling the neighborhood watch cop.

    • dn

      Something like this?

      • SEK
        • el_donaldo

          The knowledge that there is a Wikipedia entry for Caps for Sale has made me a content and happy person.

          • elm

            Dang, and I was about to link to it! One of my favorite stories as a kid, although for some reason I still to this day have recurring nightmares inspired by it.

            • Barry Freed

              Mine too but I’d completely forgotten about it. Thanks!

    • Kwanzaa’s coming.

      • efgoldman

        Festivus, also too.
        And very unusually, the First night of Hanukah this year is Thanksgiving! I’m sure its happened before (rarely) but I don’t remember it.

  • Jack G

    Next you need to borrow a mean looking dog and walk it back and forth in front of his house for hours while wearing a hoodie.

    • SEK

      I do, actually, frequently wear hoodies and have a menacing looking dog. Two, actually. So long as he doesn’t realize they’re neither horses nor Great Danes, he’d probably be plenty frightened.

      • witless chum

        Plus you keep a pistol in your coffee mug. Probably a good idea with Bill di Blasio in charge of New York City.

        • Right–that is the first thing I noticed as well. Why don’t I own that coffee mug?

          • SEK

            That’s actually my roommate’s, not mine. I’m also not the one who owns the arsenal in the house, but I do have access to it.

            I was taught how to fire a shotgun two weeks back, and now I’m learning how to shoot a compound bow. If this guy wants to have a Chapeau-lamo, by the gods, I’ll give him one!

      • Schadenboner

        Holy shit it’s the Hound of the Baskervilles and he’s come for my soul…

      • kindness

        Except Great Danes aren’t menacing, just big babies.

        • SEK

          That was my point. They’re the worst guard dogs ever. I got to this house a day early, and had my godson break into it because my roommate wasn’t home. Zeus and Bella were all “hiya hiya hiya breaking-in-type-person, hiya hiya.”

          • ChrisTS

            Shhhhhhh. They are like having a recording of a big dog barking: it’s all security theater.

          • Get a standard poodle. Ours are fierce at perceived intruders.

        • Hob

          Yeah, unless you make them totally terrifying LIKE SO.

      • The dog doesn’t look menacing. He looks drunk.

  • Maccheerful

    Am I the only one who thinks this may all end up badly? If a crazy person thinks you’re dangerous he may be inclined to preemptive retaliation.

    • rea

      MR. POLICEMAN: You shot him? Why?

      NEIGHBOR: He has a hat!

      • zombie rotten mcdonald

        but that is clearly not THE hat.

    • SEK

      Am I the only one who thinks this may all end up badly?

      I’m far better armed than he is, I have no doubt. Seriously, I live with an arsenal. If he wants hat-war, then hat-war he shall have!

      • Winston Churchill

        Better chat-chat than hat-hat.

        • Snarki, child of Loki


      • Barry Freed

        Ok, so you’ve probably got the 12-gauge auto loader, the .45 with the long slide and the laser sighting and the Uzi 9 mm, but do you have the phased plasma rifle in the 40-watt range?

  • I hate to say it but I’m worried for you. That guy sounds nuts. Don’t tease him. I mean, not more than you have to.

    • NorthLeft12

      I agree with Aimai….just tease him enough to continue to come up with more posts like this. It’s gold, I tell ya! It’s gold!

      Seriously though, I would be worried about a guy like that eventually [if not already] getting his hands on a gun, and taking matters into his own hands.

      • Barry Freed

        Seconded. That’s the south man, don’t you need to own like 5 guns just to get a driver’s license down there?

    • SEK

      I hate to say it but I’m worried for you.

      These people have to have something to worry about. If the worst they do is fear the backward-hatted former college professor, their lives will be the better for it.

      • Sure, but its not the quality of the thing that they fear that is at issue, but the amount of fear that impels them to action.

        • Yeah, now that the cops have a history with you two, I would not hesitate in the least to call them if this guy becomes a real threat.

          • SEK

            I’ll probably call the real cops. Besides, I know the sheriff, and since he protected me in high school because he — and everyone else — knew I never hit back, he knows how “dangerous” I am.

            God, typing that out, I realize how small the town I now live in is.

            • Wait a minute, is your other name Rod Dreher?

              • djw

                Or is Rod Dreher your neighbor?

    • ChrisTS

      Yeah, but his neck is safe. (Honestly, I detest the whole backwards hat thing. Nobody looks anything other than dumb in a backwards hat.)

      • SEK


        • ChrisTS

          Nah nah nah na na nah!

        • Mr. Woo Woo

          Nah, ChrisTS is right. On backwards hats George Carlin nailed it: “You’re White!”

          Though now that I think of it, we are speaking here of THE JEW KAUFMAN!
          So that would make you . . what? More or Less white? I can never get a straight answer to that.

  • then eye-fucks NEIGHBOR again

    And the tragedy of unwanted eye-babies goes on.

    • Are you referring back to the time Pastor Swank or one of those other dudes lectured the students at a Christian college about the danger of eye sex? Because that is the last time I heard about eye babies.

      • zombie rotten mcdonald

        Substance has some… unique…obsessions.

        • Oh–like your’re so normal?

    • Spirula
    • I think Substance has a picture of the birth of an eye baby, but I’m not going to link to it.

      • DK2

        SubMac: An eye baby? That’s horrible. What could possibly be worse?
        Doctor: I’ts…blind…

  • rm

    Another nervous nelly here suggesting you leave this alone.

    Crazy people have an asymmetrical advantage in this kind of thing, which is that they can accuse you of ANYTHING and perhaps obligate various authorities to investigate, or employers to fire just to avoid the possibility of some kind of rumor being associated with them.

    Also, you look much much more threatening with your head on, never mind the hat.

    • zombie rotten mcdonald

      So he’s going to get fired from the Onion for wearing a hat?

      • Admittedly SEK will probably get more grist for his mill than risk at work. However, I agree with the asymettrical crazy thing. A bored, lonely, old guy with neighborhood watch fantasies? How often does that go well?

        • Maccheerful

          He may decide to stand his ground upside Erik’s hat at some point.

        • I bet he’s not so bored now that the swarthy furriner book-lovin thug’s moved in next door.

      • That’s so ridiculous that even the Onion wouldn’t run it.

    • Another Holocene Human

      This is very true. Of course, SEK’s calm demeanor with the authorities probably helps.

      I have a great story about credulous cops which I probably can’t tell… yet… :( but it is funny, though not to just everyone involved.

      • SEK

        This is very true. Of course, SEK’s calm demeanor with the authorities probably helps.

        I can be very respectable-sounding when the need arises. Almost like I have a doctorate in English or something.

        • Cultural capitalist.

          • SEK

            Damn straight. I can play white when it works to my advantage. (“Intellectual Jew” doesn’t really go over well in the South, after all.)

  • Theophylact

    Sic the Baskervillean hound on him. If that doesn’t work, shoot him with the coffee mug.

  • David Hunt

    When I saw the title to this post and wondered why you’d be referring to tropes.com’s Planet of Hats entry. I am not going to link to that as tvtropes has some sort of magic spell on it that makes you click on the interconnecting links of their articles for hours.

  • GoDeep

    LOL, this is priceless! I wish you had it on video tape!

  • TribalistMeathead

    At any point did the cop get on his radio and say “Suspect is hatless, I repeat, hatless”?

    • SEK

      Not soon enough, damn it.

    • I Lol’d at this.

    • Rigby Reardon

      I can’t wait til they throw his hatless butt in jail!

  • The last time I was in the little Midwestern hometown of my birth, I was out for a walk, going down to the city park where I listened to band concerts, past the hospital where I was born, past the house where I briefly lived. Someone called the cops to stop and question me. He asked where I was from, and I said, “I’m from here, but I don’t live here any more.” I was wearing mostly Brooks Bros. type clothes. I have lost most of my local accent, which he may or may not have noticed. But it didn’t take long to convince him that we were both wasting our time. It was annoying and humiliating in equal measure. Walking anywhere in a town like that is now practically unknown — a few years before that a relative offered to drive me 500 feet to another relative’s house. Walking has become a suspicious activity in itself.

    • Isn’t that a Twilight Zone episode?

    • Occasionally there will be a burglary in my neighborhood that is linked to people who fit the profile for Hispanic. No one has yet called the police, but people will go out of their way to check me out. I can’t imagine what it would be like if I were a guy.

  • David

    I’m watching The Sopranos for the first time myself- what do you think so far?

    • SEK

      That I’m going to get a series of posts out of it.

      I need to process, and watch a few more, but you’ll be hearing a lot more about it from me in the coming months.

  • Larry

    I know, SEK, that you like living along or near the edge and excavating absurdity and irony and humor in your work and apparently in your life as well. The ultimate irony and absurdity – yet logical conclusion – of you screwing around with your neighbor’s warped mind is that HE will be the one to shoot you, either as you drive by or waiting for you to come out of your home. You’re young. You have your whole life ahead of you. You want it to last more than another three to six months or so. I’m from that part of the world. Don’t push it, SEK. You’ll find other areas to mine for your irony stew. Or don’t worry, irony will find you anyway, even if it’s not all around your hat. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CqInvZ9hY9Y

    • Lee Rudolph

      I’m from that part of the world.

      But so’s he; in fact, from that very town. FWIW.

    • SEK

      I’m from that part of the world. Don’t push it, SEK.

      I’m home, I know what I’m doing, no worries.


    Nicely done. Hats off to you, sir.

    • SEK

      I’m just glad someone got that. I was inordinately proud of it.

      • Barry Freed

        I came here to say +unus to that.

      • Tiny Hermaphrodite, Esq.

        Just for the record, I got it too. But it doesn’t really warrant a comment, doesn’t it?

      • NBarnes


      • BigHank53

        I know the feeling. Enjoy–you earned it.

  • J R in WV

    While is it hysterical, and I appreciate crazy humour a whole lot, I too wonder if poking a paranoid nutjob, however amusing in the short-term, is advisable in the long-term.

    I’ve got guns, they’re in drawers in the bedroom. My Grandma had her pistol on the top shelf in the bathroom – you had to be careful going into the bathroom closet. The .22 rifle was in the kitchen pantry closet.

    But if paranoid-nutjob is carrying a pistol in his hand, your pistol in the closet/drawer/shelf is trumped instantly. So do be careful.

    Remember that it was in LA that Halloween trick-or-treaters were shot dead, and the shooter was acquited, because he was scared! If I recall that correctly…

    • SEK

      Remember that it was in LA that Halloween trick-or-treaters were shot dead

      If you’re talking about what I think you are, I do know that, quite well, just follow the links. But I know what I’m doing, which buttons to push and how hard to push ’em. I just can’t not do it, but that’s pretty obvious by now.

  • I thought it was “cat in a hat”, not “cat is a hat.”

  • Shwell Thanksh

    As the son of a librarian (perfect 2d10 stats roll!) I’m going to have nightmares about the image of those poor, broken spines.

  • He felt threatened by your hat. Isn’t he legally obligated to shoot you under Stand Your Ground laws, or is that only if you were totally not-white? Also, I’ve lived in the South my entire regrettable existence, and I’ve never heard “eye-fucking”, at least not from a source I’d consider legit (high school football coach, deputy sheriff, random dude hanging out at Maxy’s Pool Hall, etc.). I have heard “eye-ballin'”, which I suppose could be considered the same thing, depending on one’s definition of “ball”. The stress is, in fact, on “ball”, for example, “You eye-BALLin’ me, boy?” Perhaps one eye-fucks while one is eye-balled. Who knows.

  • JustRuss

    God this made me laugh. Probably shouldn’t ask, but do you have a picture of proper eye-fucking technique? Seems like a good skill to have…although dangerous in the wrong hands…er, eyes.

    • SEK

      Looks something like this.

    • SV

      He shoots eye-lasers at the guy.

  • JimmyZ

    Put me in the worried camp. There was that one guy, he played bass for Leonard Skinnard. He was known for wearing hats. He is dead now. QED.

  • Rich Beckman

    A long time ago, the soon to be ex-husband of a woman I was friends with knocked on my door with the intention of beating me up. I invited him in and we talked for several minutes. I only remember that I insisted that his beating me up would prove nothing since it was already clear to anyone who looked at us that he could do so.

    He finally left in clear frustration.

    I was later told that he complained that there were books and magazines everywhere and I used words he did not know and he ended up at a loss as to what to do.

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