By Mordechai Schmutter
My readers out there who have lives might not know this, but January 15 is National Hat Day.
“Oh,” you’re saying. “I thought every day was National Hat Day.”
No one knows where National Hat Day came from, or what to do about it, other than wear hats (we assume). Is Hat Day like Rosh Hashanah for hats?
Basically, it’s one of those weird national holidays that no one’s ever heard of, like:
National Nothing Day (January 16), which was the topic of a previous article of mine. If you missed the article, don’t worry. It didn’t really say anything.
National Baby Day (May 2), which doesn’t really have a point; the babies don’t actually know it’s their day.
Forefathers’ Day (December 21), though I don’t think they know it’s their day either.
Take Your Pants for a Walk Day (July 27), though I don’t know what that means. I generally do that when I bring them to the cleaners.
Lumpy Rug Day (May 3), which doesn’t sound like something you’d be celebrating.
If Pets Had Thumbs Day (March 3), which doesn’t even make sense as the name of a day.
Moldy Cheese Day (October 9), which is the Rosh Hashanah for cheese.
Generally, when we think of Hat Day, we picture our kindergarteners, who frequently either have to go to school wearing some kind of hat or they come home in some kind of hat made out of a piece of paper and two staples and decorated for whatever big day is coming up—Rosh Hashanah, Chanukah, Take Your Pants for a Walk Day, etc. But my point is that maybe National Hat Day came from kindergarten.
But it still might be a good day to wear strange hats, because why not? Luckily, there are new head coverings being invented every day.
For example, Sony filed a patent for something called a Smart Wig, which is a sheitel with a brain in it (as opposed to your current sheitel). It does tons of things that your boring regular hair can’t do, such as take pictures and answer the phone. It even vibrates or sends you small shocks when you get a text or an e‑mail. And does your current sheitel have a laser pointer? I didn’t think so.
All of the electronics are arranged under the hair, in Sony’s words, “to be hidden during use.” You can use it at the store, during business meetings, at weddings, etc. and no one will be able to tell, except that it will look like you’re wearing your wife’s sheitel.
Okay, so some of these wigs are for men, who are, for example, losing their boring regular hair. In the Jewish world, most of us just start wearing bigger and bigger yarmulkes.
But a wig is definitely less obtrusive than an earpiece, Sony claims. Except that you have to shampoo the wig, and that probably ruins the tech. So it’s like a wig that you wear every day and never shampoo.
The wig would also have a GPS, so it could tell you when you’re wandering in the wrong direction. This is great. A GPS, as it currently stands, is a small electronic device that you play with while you drive. Because driving wasn’t complicated enough.
So apparently, the smart wig will have no screen to play with, but will give directions by sending a small buzz to the right or left side of your head, so you can turn and then quietly scratch the part that buzzed. Or maybe you’re going down the street, and the wig suddenly turns in the direction it wants you to go.
Another thing proposed in the patent is an ultrasound sensor so the wig can warn you when you’re about to bump into something. This would come in handy when I’m getting ready for bed at night and I turn off all the lights downstairs and then try to make my way across the house, in that I can use it to detect furniture. Until now, I’ve been using my shin.
The sheitel also monitors the user’s vital signs. Like if you’re sleeping, it will send you a buzz to let you know that. Or if you bump your head in the dark, it will suddenly start buzzing like crazy, because you don’t have enough problems.
But I wouldn’t worry about that. The patent claims that the head is the perfect place for smart technology, because people protect their heads more than anything else, and they’re less likely to leave it in a cab or drop it in the lavatory.
The patent also says it can be made from “horse hair, human hair, wool, feathers, yak hair, buffalo hair, or any kind of synthetic material.” This is handy to know in case you want to get one for your wife.
Wife: “You bought me a sheitel made from feathers?”
Husband: “Yeah! It was either this or wool!”
Wife: “It looks like a pillow exploded.”
Husband: “Maybe. But look! You can use it to take pictures!”
Wife: “Good! That way I don’t have to be in them.”
This wig is still in development, though. The current prototype is made from yak hair and is still attached to the actual yak. They can’t get the guy out from underneath it. But when it does come out, it would definitely make a good gift for holidays, such as Lumpy Rug Day. Or Forefathers’ Day. If only our founding fathers could have had this technology in their wigs. They probably wouldn’t have gotten around to founding anything.
Another head covering being developed is not actually for people at all. It’s for dogs. The device, called “No More Woof,” is being built by the Nordic Society for Invention and Discovery (NSID) in Sweden, which is also the birthplace of IKEA.
The No More Woof is a small headset that you have to put together yourself and that makes your dog look like a little telemarketer. What it does is it translates dog thoughts into human languages. Basically, the dog thinks whatever dogs think (“Woof!”), and the mounted speaker translates it to Swedish (“Wüf!”). And then you just have to figure out how to translate it to English.
Actually, right now the headset speaks English, though other languages are coming soon. But there are still only a limited number of phrases it can say:
“I am so very weary.”
“Who are you?”
“Is that really you?”
“Why are you guys leaving?”
“This is splendid!” (because apparently your dog is British)
Other thoughts probably coming soon are:
“Yum! Garbage from the floor!”
“Did you say ‘Heel’ or ‘Heal’? Because I can’t do the second, and I don’t even know what the first means.”
“What on earth did you just put on my head?”
But if you do get the device, it would definitely make a good gift for “Thank Goodness Pets Don’t Have Thumbs Day.” As it is, the whole thing will be ruined the minute the dog sticks his head out a car window while you’re driving. Maybe you should get it a Smart Wig, so the ultrasound will let it know when to pull its head back in. If the wig doesn’t blow off first.
Okay, I’m not suggesting you have a dog. But even if you don’t, you probably have a neighbor who does. So this would be a great gift for situations where you come across him walking his dog, and the dog sniffs your pants and you’re trying to pretend you’re not scared, and the owner says, “Don’t worry, it’s not going to hurt you,” because he knows it never hurts him. But then, the neighbor doesn’t know that you’re on the way back from the takeout place and that the bag you’re holding is full of pastrami sandwiches.
The NSID is also thinking of making a headset for humans to wear that will translate what we think into dog language. By barking out of a speaker near our ear, I guess. That’s sure to be a big seller. How about making one that will help us know what our wives are thinking without having them make us guess? (“I’m hungry.” “I am so very weary.” “What smells?”)
And can we get one for babies? I don’t know that pet owners have situations where they’re handing a wailing dog back and forth, going, “What does it want? Is it tired? Is it hungry? Does it want to know who we are? Is it rather weary?” Also, sometimes the baby is crawling around, exploring, and we suddenly get worried because we don’t hear anything. So maybe we can get the baby a “No More Woof,” and we can at least hear what it’s thinking. (“Yum! Garbage from the floor!”) It would make a great present for Baby Day. Also Moldy Cheese Day. v
Mordechai Schmutter is a weekly humor columnist for Hamodia and is the author of four books, published by Israel Book Shop. He also does freelance writing for hire. You can send any questions, comments, or ideas to MSchmutter@gmail.com.