Back in 1995, I happened to read Kitty Kelly’s unauthorized book about former first lady, Nancy Reagan. I found it in one of the libraries run by Americans in the Republic of Armenia, either at the U.S. Embassy or the Peace Corps office. I wasn’t particularly interested in Nancy Reagan as much as I was dying to read something in English. As I was reading about the 40th president’s wife, I came across a passage about Ronald Reagan and his first wife, the late actress Jane Wyman. I knew of Ms. Wyman from watching her play Angela Channing on the 80s era nighttime soap, Falcon Crest.
Evidently, Ms. Wyman got annoyed with Reagan, who was yammering on about something boring when he was president of the Screen Actor’s Guild. Wyman, who had grown tired of his tedious talk, shouted in frustration, “Oh, for God’s sake, Ronnie, shut up and go shit in your hat!” By contrast, Reagan’s second wife, Nancy Reagan, was famously adoring of her husband and listened to every word he spoke with reverence and devotion. While Ms. Wyman was probably saying what everyone else was thinking, and what she said may have even been something Reagan needed to hear, it was Nancy Reagan who soothed her husband’s ego. They were married for many years. Did Nancy Reagan truly enjoy listening to her husband drone on? It’s hard to tell.
For some reason, I was thinking of that passage this morning. It made me laugh when I read it the first time, and it still does now. I like that expression, “Go shit in your hat.” Maybe I’ll start saying that instead of the shorter, but more common and less colorful, “Fuck off.” Seems to me that “go shit in your hat” is a saying with lots of age and history behind it, but I never hear people saying it. Maybe it’s time to bring back that expression, even though not everyone wears hats these days. If they did, can you imagine them taking a dump in one? The mental image makes me giggle.
I did buy a new hat a couple of days ago. In 2017, I bought Bill this awesome charcoal grey flat cap from Aran Sweater Market. I’ve admired it ever since; it looks adorable on him, and he gets many compliments on it. I bought myself a blue suede flat hat in Ribeauville, France, although it was made by a German company. I don’t wear it very often, though. In a fit of loneliness and shopping compulsion, I bought a sweater, a wrap, and one of those Irish wool flat caps for myself, only the one I bought is blue. Blue is my color. I may not wear it often enough for people to tell me to go shit in it, though. In fact, I might end up giving it to Bill, since he’s balding and needs hats more than I do.
Right now, I’d like to tell several specific people to go shit in their hats, just so I can see the undoubtedly shocked and dismayed expressions on their faces. Some of them obviously have no problem verbally abusing and insulting me. Why shouldn’t I respond in kind? I’d like to be one of those saintly people who just forgives and forgets every slight. I’d like to pretend I’m Buddha, who doesn’t react when a person comes at me with anger and disrespect. Instead of accepting the insults and taking them to heart, I’d like to simply stand there blankly, or maybe with a serene smile on my face. Alas, I was not built that way. People who are shitty to me incur my wrath. So maybe it’s time I started saying “in your hat” to them.
Apparently, “in your hat” is a more polite way of saying “go shit in your hat.” I read on the Straight Dope messageboard that back in the 30s, actors weren’t even allowed to say “in your hat” in a movie, because it was deemed indecent, even without the words “go shit” before it. That seems kind of laughable today, doesn’t it?
Anyway, I won’t shit in my hat or yours… but I might suggest it to other people. I know the person with whom I’d most like to start… But I probably won’t, because deep down, I’m a fucking lady.