It is important to note, for the sake of both historical accuracy and literary theme, that when Mark Twain wrote, “There is no such thing as a new idea,” he was stealing from the biblical Solomon, who, despite enjoying the ministrations of 700 wives and 300 concubines, had conceived a similar and ultimately Ecclesiastical maxim, namely, that there is nothing new under the sun.
Of course, the proof of Twain’s assertion is less in his choice of words than in his decision to use them. That he thought it was nothing new; that he said it was something old. Among writers, the search for new ideas is a truth as old as time, if not somehow older. When facing writer’s block or “thinker’s void,” we must often turn to other sources for inspiration or “plagiarism.”
It is in the spirit of all these things – literature, theft, things being under the sun – that I present this post, inspired by C. Cistulli’s award-craving series, eBay’s Five Most Marvelous and Currently Available Ballcaps.
To repeat: eBay’s 5 Most Marvelous and Currently Unavailable Ballcaps:
Anderson Felons New Era Hat (Missing Link)
Style: Fitted (7 3/8), probably
Time Left: Pretty much all you want, as the cap remains unavailable
Cost: The time it takes to read this post, or this part of this post
The Felons, according to Baseball Indirect Reference, were an Anderson-based Dependent League team that belonged, first, to the Anderson-Area Correctional Institute and then, after that, the Anderson-Area Correctional Institute And Good-Times FunDrinkery. I have it on good, if not great, authority that anyone who wears this hat is automatically confused by the goals of the institution – fun? good times? retribution via killer hangover? – and ultimately confined to the institution, just in time for happy hour.
Bull From Night Court Satin Cap (Missing Link)
Style: Snapback, which is basically a style of cap
Time Left: Eternity, if we’re being technical about it
Cost: Your dignity, if you were to actually locate this cap
This would appear to be some manner of promotional item from the TV show Night Court, centering more specifically on the character named Bull. One notes, if one has a particularly vivid imagination, that the material is satin – a fabric which announces to those who listen to announcements that “not only have I made love, I’ve made it several times in one afternoon and to several people whose names I do not know.” The Polaroid on which the cap (not pictured) might’ve appeared does little to change your impression.
Cincinnati Stripes Red Hat (Missing Link)
Style: Snapback, which remains a style of cap, basically
Time Left: The same as on the right, one assumes
Cost: Undetermined, but cheaper if you have a Groupon
This is actually a poorly designed hat that, for whatever reason, uses an expanse of solid red to celebrate a team called the Stripes. Even the historic logo (CINN, STRIPES) is woven in red thread into red fabric, which, not unlike the 1950s, compels one to live inside the mind of Senator Joseph McCarthy.
Pittsburgh Pisces 1979 Championship Game Hat (Missing Link)
Style: Snapback, which, after all this time, is still a style of cap
Time Left: Does anybody really know what time it is? Does anybody really care?
Cost: Many dollars (in 1979 dollars)
Sometimes it’s difficult for the consumer to decide whether he would like to purchase a hat that exists or, otherwise, a hat that doesn’t exist. This item from the 1979 movie The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh allows one to have, if not the best, then at least one, of the two alternatives. The potential buyer is advised to consider the fictional seller philthefictionalseller’s note regarding the product in question: “doesn’t exist.” Curiously, these are almost the same words the author uttered to himself re his own capacity for original thinking.
The Bout Movie Cap (Not Albert Brooks) Never Made (Missing Link)
Style: Um, snapback?
Time Left: None, one supposes
Cost: In the end, it’s really up to you
In the film The Bout, which, by all indications and despite every effort, has never been made, Gary Hanland racks up a fight record of 8-0 before his trainer “pushes him too far,” like maybe into a nest of bees. Curiously, however, there appears to be no mention of the length of said pushing, probably because the film was never made. This, and no other reason, is what makes the hat un-buyable for Dave Chappelle and Cameron Diaz.
John Paschal is a regular contributor to The Hardball Times and The Hardball Times Baseball Annual.