ADVENTURES OF THE MAD HATTER: DREIDEL MAN

Last year, at this time, Hanukkah, a most unusual thing happened in SherlockS Hat store. Actually you might call it unbelievable. You be the judge.

I was by myself in the store, and it was raining heavily outside. I realized that few customers would be out and about, so I resigned myself to redesigning the hats in our showcase window, a labor of love. I was rearranging a Stetson Fedora on a Styrofoam head when I heard the door open. In popped a fellow dressed in a dreidel outfit. His torso was covered with a white balloon-like fabric that was divided into four sides, each side had a blue letter on it – נ,ג,ה,פ . His feet were covered in blue and white tights. I would have laughed but then I thought, why not get him to stand in the window for a while. With all the buses going by, he’ll be a big draw.

But before I could say a word, Dreidel Man twirled around and asked, “What do you have that matches my outfit?”

I pride myself on my ability to match a hat to a face or a piece of clothing. But I have to admit, this was a first.

“Okay,” I said. “How about a Carlos Santana Diamond Cast hat. It comes in Rust, Blue, and Olive. It’s got a small brim and the diamond crown will go great with your, uh diamond look, especially when you hold your feet together like that.”

“How much?” Dreidel Man said, taking the blue hat I offered and putting it on his head.

“279 shekels.”

“Hmmm. I don’t have any pockets on me, so let’s spin for it.”

I had a bunch of dreidels we were giving out on the counter so I turned to get one.

“No, I’ll spin,” he announced. He promptly laid down on the floor and spun around and around, finally landing on his side. “Heh!” he announced. “Half! I don’t have that amount either. Double or nothing,” Dreidel Man said, getting up.

“I think –”

But he didn’t care what I thought. He laid down and spun again. “Nun”, he announced when he landed on his back. “You lose.”

Up he sprang and before I could say a word, he put the hat on his head and walked out into the rain.

I wasn’t about to run after him. I’ve never run after a dreidel, and I wasn’t about to start now.

Strange. Unbelievable. Impossible, you say.

And I say, “You ain’t heard nothin’ yet.”

This year, just before Hanukkah, I get a package from Tsfat. When I open it, there’s the Carlos Santana hat. As good as new. Under the hat is a note. It says

“Do you have any three-cornered hats?

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