It was a good winter hat. Blue. Knit. Fit real snug over my head. There was no silly poof-up or anything. I’d had it for a couple years and expected to have it a couple more.
It was a January day in Cleveland, so I hadta wear it when we went to The RockNRoll Hall of Fame, the museum where they honor my favorite creative movement of all time.
As we walked thru the exhibits we learned things like how at first they inducted way-before-my-time Oldies like Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly, and Elvis Presley, but now they were inducting bands I remember being new like Nirvana, Green Day, and Pearl Jam. It made me want to ask, “who’s left to let in?” And it was hard to answer. It gave me an unsettling feeling as I walked thru the Hall’s exhibits.
It was pretty warm inside, and I put my hat in my coat pocket where it always went. It was fine every other time I put it there.
The Rock Hall inspired me with things like a record company’s rejection letter for an early U2 demo, footage of a Simon and Garfunkle reuniting after decades and The Boxer harmonies still sounding on point, and a documentary where a Patti Smith voiceover says something like, “before they invented RockNRoll the lost people had nowhere to go.”
They were all still alive, but as you went thru the museum you couldn’t help but notice how many others were dead. At first they died in cool and profound ways like plane crashes, drug overdoses, or misinterpretation of The Catcher in the Rye. But later most of them died in the most normal, insignificant way – got old.
“No!” I said when we were almost at the end. “I don’t have my hat.”
We immediately retraced our steps, and it was like watching the same rockstars dying over again in reverse. Robert Johnson may have been poisoned by a jealous lover when he was just 27.
There was no hat anywhere.
We hadta go Behind the Exhibit to The Lost & Found. There were no musical idols there, only security guards. They said nothing had turned up and had me sign paperwork. I had a strong feeling it would do no good.
“Do you wanna see the rest of the exhibit?” my girlfriend asked.
“No,” I said. “This just feels like the Hall of Lost Things now.”
Then we walked out unsure of how to ever replace those lost things.