All the Best Freaks are Here

As humans we tend toward caution in a lot of things, particularly in appearances. Just about everybody wants to “fit in,” to not stand out too much from the group. Now that still allows for a lot of diversity, thankfully, because we have a lot of groups. It’s a common phrase to “let your freak flag fly,” but since we’re all freaks from someone’s point of view we can often find other people with similar flags to fly with.

The Hell’s Angels are just a group of like minded individuals flying their freak flags together. So are born again christians. So are people that go to Scrabble┬« tournaments. But even in groups we tend to shy away from being just out right silly, from allowing our freak flags to appear less than serious for more than a few moments at a time. God sent me to Disneyland this week. She told me to go and look at hats.

Disney has managed to carve out a place where it’s okay to appear silly. It started with simple black caps with two black circles representing cartoon mouse ears. And when it started with that there were enough people willing to wear them that it was able to hang in there, in that space between crass corporatism and silly individualism, and slowly take root and branch out. Now there’s a huge number of silly hats on sale at the park. Silly birthday hats, shaped like cakes. Silly sorcerer hats. Silly princess hats. And you see the occasional person willing to wear one of these within the safe confines of the Disney parks.

Then comes Christmas.

There are Disney Christmas hats, all variations on the classic Santa hat, for a wide variety of Disney characters. There’s the classic mouse ears. There’s color and ear variations for Tigger, Stitch, Goofy, Winnie the Pooh, Eeyore, and Jack Skellington. And there’s more than the odd, isolated individual wearing them. You can’t turn around with out seeing one of them and occasionally, if you look out over the crowd, they’ll seem almost as pervasive as polka dots.

So salute your silly side, people, and know that you’re not alone. And maybe someday we’ll learn that it’s okay to be silly all the year long and wherever we are. Or at least that we can let some of our freak out without having to clump together in groups and without having to be too serious about it.

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