Ten Gallon Hat

Tiger writes about cowboy hats today. It reminded me of my first time in Texas, buying my one and only cowboy hat.

I went down to this resort in Austin for a training conference back when I worked for KPMG. While we were there I went out on the town a bit with the company, which was cool. But I wanted to see a bit more. The conference was a few days, but because we had some free time towards the end, I decided on the last day there I’d rent a car and get out a bit and do a few things that especially interested me. Specifically, I had two things in mind.

1) Eat some authentic Texas BBQ Beef Brisket.
2) Buy myself an authentic cowboy hat.

I could find nobody from KPMG who was interested in pursuing these activities with me, so I proceeded on my quest alone. Before departing the resort, I approached the concierge for help with fulfilling my two objectives. He was a well dressed young man, and he quickly recommended a restaurant where I could get some beef brisket. Then I asked him about the hat.

“Yes, and I’d like to go someplace where I can buy myself a ten gallon hat.” I said.

“A what?” the concierge asked, his eyes widening.

“You know, a ten gallon hat… a cowboy hat that can hold ten gallons of water…”

His eyes widened appreciably at this point, and he quickly excused himself and ran in back. Almost instantly, I could hear howls of laughter, and the concierge barely speaking over his uncontrolled fits of laughter, “Goddamned Yankee wants to buy a ten gallon hat!!!”

Moments later he reemerged, his composure regained, and said to me, “Um, sir, I think that’s more of an expression than a literal description…”

I replied, “Well whatever, just tell me where to go to get a big-ass cowboy hat.”

He directed me to what’s called a “Western-Ware” store, which is sort of like a Wal-Mart but for cowboy paraphernalia. Everything from saddles to boots to, of course, hats. It was truly a sight to behold. A nice Texan woman took the opportunity to fit me with a large black cowboy hat, the largest they had in stock. So smitten was I with my purchase, that I wore it right out of the store, and right into the airport for my ride home.

And in the gate for my flight, I bumped into two KPMG buddies, and as I approached, wearing an enormous cowboy hat on my head and an even bigger grin on my face, their eyes began to widen…


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