This post aired on KFAI in Minneapolis in April 2013 as part of a series on Minnesota writers.
I don’t know why this hasn’t been thought of before, but now that it has, it’s too late for you all. It came to me today on the train—and it’s just what’s needed. It’s called the Sleeper Hat. Or maybe the Stop Cap.
Here’s what it is. It’s headwear featuring a little window showing the name of the train station to which its wearer is bound. For example, “York Street” or “Broadway-Lafayette.” Seen wearing one of these while nodding off, sawing logs, catching Zs, a person should be woken up at or just prior to the displayed stop. This understanding will arise through the profligate popularity of the hat. (Organically, I think the term is.)
Yes, today is the first day of the rest of my life. So long, laborious unprofitable endeavors. Hello, life of abundant ease.
Picture it now. You’re on your daily commute. You look down and see:
WAKE ME AT:
What a pleasure to assist your fellow commuter! Your spirits are boosted! If you weren’t brimming with altruistic purpose before—look out, ‘cause here it comes!
Here’s the best part: into the hat is fit a scroll of sorts that can be cranked like those front-of-bus destination signs before they went digital, or the MON/TUE/WED bits in wristwatches before everyone realized that wristwatches are about as comfortable as wearing a venomous adder, and that they’re pointless anyway because one’s smartphone is constantly at hand and will be displaying the precise hour and too many other things to count (though there’s an app to count them) at your time of death by bus or train impact.
So if you live in New York, for example, and you ride the F, you use the F cartridge banner, dial it to the stop that deposits you, day after dreary day, onto the street just outside your office, and drift away to dreamland forgetting briefly the impending unhappy arrival. Each train line has its own scroll or banner, whether local or express, above or below ground, and if shops know what’s good for them, the scrolls will be for sale at shops near stations along that line.
Clever, eh? Can you believe I’ve not read even a single word of a marketing text?
Staggering to think how quickly and to what magnitude my empire will grow. But wait, there’s more! (I can’t wait to say that into a camera!)
It doesn’t stop there. Le Metro Chapeau. Ye Olde Tube Tam. You see where I’m going with this? The StopCap (I’ve just decided on this name over the other) is a product with utility and appeal no less limited than the aforementioned smartphone itself. Which begs the question, Why not make an app for this? But let’s not mention this to backers, shall we? The important thing is, everyone sleeps and everyone rides mass transit. Well, everyone sleeps.
Say we ballpark it at fifty major world metropolises having public transit lines (my research people are on this) and an average of twenty lines per metropolis. That’s 4.6 million units just in the initial rollout! Roughly. (Accounting is on this one.)
Now, add to this multitudinous exponent of the StopCap the additional factor of fashion. Caps in blue, black, magenta, and orange. Miami’s Stop Caps emblazoned with Dolphin and Marlins logos. Fezes for Marakesh, sombreros for Mexico City, those upside-down woks for Shanghai, cork-dangled hats for the Aussies and so on—and it is so stupefying to think of the wealth I will amass that you have probably thrown this text across the room in congratulatory disgust.
To place your order, visit StopCapHatAlsoKnownasSleeperHat.biz/worldcities?query=yourcity’sname.info. The site will be up this afternoon. First, to book my vacation. I’m so excited!