A tip of the cap is in order

This story comes straight from the You-can’t-make-this-up file: A Cubs fan is driving along a highway when he sees some debris from a car wreck. Among that debris is a St. Louis Cardinals World Series Champions hat, which can’t be more than two weeks old, signed by several of the team’s players. He’s a Cubs fan, but he wants the Cardinals fan who lost this souvenir to get it back, so he goes to the local newspaper, has it photographed, and gives his conditions for the fan who wants to get it back. A more detailed account of the story is here.

This Cubs fan had to overcome a couple of different urges to get to this point. The first is the human greed that might have seen dollar signs all over this cap. A hat like this is certainly unique, and if that many players signed it, somebody will offer a lot of money to have that become their hat. Listing it on eBay would be perfectly legitimate, but it would also feel like the slimiest possible path to go down, and kudos to him for not doing so.

Another urge, although less pronounced, would be to pick it up and show it off like the spoils of conquest. Particularly in Central Illinois, Cubs fans have to live with constant reminders of their more successful rivals in Missouri, and this hat had to appear like an even bigger reminder than usual. There they are, all of the Cardinals World Series heroes, all in one place. Even Ryan Theriot’s name appears to be there, who was once a Cubs fan but now has become the Enemy. Why on earth would a Cardinals fan, who couldn’t hang on to such a prized item, deserve to get it back? I’m not saying I would think this way, but I could understand the thought process, at least.

The final urge might have been to just leave it alone. I’ve often wondered, if I was Kyle McLaughlin’s character in Blue Velvet, would I have stopped in that field to pick up the severed ear lying on the ground? I have to believe I would have kept walking on, and just tried to forget I ever saw anything at all. Granted, a signed Cardinals hat and a severed ear are two different things, but the impulse to just leave it alone, and avoid all the complications that could follow from picking up the hat, would have at least crossed my mind for a split second.

I hope this story ends well. I hope that the Cubs fan who found the hat doesn’t get dozens of replies from people, all of  them swearing up and down that it’s their hat. In fact, anything more than one reply will dampen this story for me, because I want to believe that the person who lost it will reply, and that no one else will see this as an opportunity to score themselves a potentially valuable hat.

My view of human nature is on the line here, people. Make me proud.

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