Hat Guy

Hat Guy

5th Blog Post – July 10, 2024

Today’s blog may not seem directly related to art, but it holds cherished memories from my childhood. When I was about 8 or 9 years old, my mother loved raising chickens as pets. One reason was that chickens were the only pets allowed in our city at the time; the other reason was the hope of getting fresh eggs, as all food was rationed back then.

Once, my mother bought a few chicks, and one of them was particularly large. She said that when it grew up, just 4 or 5 of its eggs would weigh a pound. It wasn’t until one day when it greeted us with a loud, raspy crow that we realized it was actually a rooster. I named it “Hat Guy” because it had an exceptionally large comb on its head, resembling a peony flower tilted to the left. It always looked around coolly with its right eye. The reason for the delay in naming it was that we couldn’t decide whether it was a “Hat Girl” or “Hat Guy.”

“Hat Guy” was quite formidable, weighing about 15 pounds. Its claw could cover my entire knee. At that time, we lived on the third floor, and every morning, “Hat Guy” would lead its female companions from our window down to the playground below and back to the third floor in the evening. My favorite activity was “walking the chickens”: I would walk in front, and “Hat Guy” and its companions would follow behind me.

Once, a neighbor boy made fun of my “walking the chickens,” and “Hat Guy” rushed at him and bit his ear, causing it to bleed. The boy’s mother brought him, with his ear bandaged, to our home to complain. My mother, looking at me incredulously, apologized and paid for the medical expenses. Another time, the neighborhood boys were having a chicken fight and mocked that “Hat Guy” was so big and clumsy that other chickens would ride on its back like a horse. In the first round, “Hat Guy” trampled its opponent underfoot, nearly killing it. Despite “Hat Guy” constantly getting into trouble, it was one of the few companions I trusted. Due to its gender and the special circumstances of that time, it ultimately met a tragic end despite my efforts to protect it. I was so upset that I didn’t speak to anyone in my family for a whole month in protest. Decades have passed, but the memories of my time with “Hat Guy” are deeply etched in my mind and remain unforgettable.

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