Marcophiles: Time flies – So do hats and pants


Here we are with Halloween in our rear view mirror, rushing toward Thanksgiving and the December holidays, still bewildered about how fast the past year streaked by. How could that be?

Maybe the Mars lander and its follow-up friend Curiosity had something to do with it. Or maybe the fall is flying by so fast partly because my favorite baseball team, the Atlanta Braves, spent so little time in it.

I also think that when people are pressed to think about New Year’s resolutions, time flies because we break most of them most of the time, often before nightfall on any fast-moving weekend.

To my delight, however, some things that are with us this year help put the brakes on the rush to the future.

Examples that are either deeply significant or hopelessly unimportant:

Silk top hats are extremely popular up to the point of actually wearing them to something other than a themed-costume party. But those cool, tall, easy to tip hats are “in” now, thanks to a TV show and a movie.

The lords of “Downton Abbey” look good in almost anything, but they tower in prestige when they don the tall hats. Heck, they’re equally cool even in a bowler or a homburg.

People who track fashion culture are dazzled by “Downton Abbey” and by its predecessor in the genre, “Upstairs, Downstairs.” Journalists who cover the narrow world of upper class Brits of yesteryear are agog. The website gushed with glee that Lord Grantham’s “covert” coat had a chest pocket flap. Well who wouldn’t?

The other tip of the top hat is to the hit movie “Lincoln,” which inspired a flood of Abe stuff, not the least of which is the stovepipe hat he wore. Mr. Lincoln reportedly not only wore the tall hats, but also used them as mobile storage units.

One source,, says he kept in that hat all sorts of notes, letters, bills and such. Still, I wonder what would happen when he took off the big hat in the wind? I guess that as president, he had people to pick up stuff for him.

Isn’t it odd that Lincoln wore that skyscraper hat even though he was six-feet four-inches tall in his sweat socks and didn’t need the hat to make him our tallest president to date? Lyndon Johnson also was six-four, but if he ever wore a top hat, it may have been only in private, with Lady Bird.

It’s too bad the stovepipe hat was not in fashion when our fourth president, James Madison was in office. He was a foot shorter than Lincoln.

In the spirit of how fast time flies, the heights of two possible presidential candidates are: Hillary Clinton, 5’6,” and Sen. Marco Rubio, 5’10.”

One other pop culture carryover that some of us seasoned seniors would be well done without is the outrageous styling of men’s pants. (I was told nobody says “trousers” anymore.)

Right now, skinny pants are cool, some say. Before that we saw a blizzard of big pants, triple-pleated, baggier than a Publix checkout counter.

Think back to “Spanky and Our Gang,” Chubby Chaney and Jackie Cooper. Only this year’s wide pants come in such delightful colors as bile and scat

Let’s hope the winds of time have blown away those wide pants for good and now drown the skinny ones, even before FEMA knows they’re there.

Chris Curle and Don Farmer have been writing for the Marco Eagle and other area newspapers for more than 30 years. They have a combined total of 99 years experience in major news media in the U.S. and abroad, including ABC News, NBC News, CNN, the Wall Street Journal and other newspapers and magazines. Their novel, “Deadly News,” is set partly in Marco Island.

© 2013 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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