Was there ever a time when you were a kid that there was some toy advertised on TV that you wanted? Do you remember how brightly that that desire burned? I
still vividly remember when I was about 7 years old, Texaco gas stations began selling a plastic fireman’s hat with a microphone that allowed you to
amplify your voice through a speaker set in the shield on the front. The result was a buzzing garbled voice that sounded not so much like a firefighter
dispatch radio as a McDonald’s drive-thru, but it was so cool and I wanted it like Ralphie wanted that Red Ryder BB gun. I pestered my poor parents
relentlessly for it. Finally, one night after my month-long campaign, my folks agreed that I could have one. So, after dinner, my mom and I got in
the car and headed for the Texaco station. But when we got there, they were out of them. The man there suggested another location and off we went.
Same story. We widened our search area and crisscrossed the county. Now the stations were closing down for the night but I insisted on pressing on.
I ran my poor mom around until after midnight trying to find a Texaco that was open late and still had some hats in stock. We dragged home in defeat
that night, but by 5:30 the next morning I was shaking my dad awake to start the next leg of the Great Fireman’s Hat Quest. Within the hour I came
home exhausted but victorious and fell asleep with that red gleaming hat firmly strapped to my head.