Every year around graduation time, the students of MIT are encouraged to come out of their celebratory drinking comas just long enough to design their own mortar board hats, making the bland black squares a reflection of their artistic abilities that have been suppressed in the name of science for the last four or five years. The sea of inky shifting rectangles comes alive with the brilliant colors of rhinestones, Legos, laser’d acrylic, and foofy ribbons and bows. The more mechanical and electrical minds can be seen with gears and LEDs on theirs, blinking and spinning a chorus of controlled chaos in the cool cacophony of Commencement.
My art is not one of lights, cameras, or action, but one of practicality and hacking things together that probably shouldn’t go together. Like a Chinese Voltron toy, I shoved, strapped, stripped, soldered, and Amazon’d together my latest masterpiece: The Excelsior, named after the speech given by Drew Houston during the festivities. Appropriate for its namesake, it was both literally taller than all of the other hats due to its size and better than all of the other hats, truly rising above all. Also like Drew Houston’s speech, it was made up of a bunch of things that I found on the internet stapled together.
The hat had every feature that one could want out of a hat, and then more. An umbrella shielded me from the elements, while a foam dome of coke cans provided me with a constant stream of refreshment. A miniature fan blew cool breezes across my face, ensuring a comfortable temperature no matter the conditions. A small spinny propeller was also planned to top my mortar board, but was unfortunately damaged during assembly and was not included.
More unfortunate occurrences came with the line up to the march in, where I discovered that post-Marathon-and-Mooninite Boston really doesn’t like exposed circuits. Or Coke cans. Or umbrellas. Or fun, student health or well-being, but I knew these already. The headgear was confiscated and destroyed by Hat-Fascists masquerading as event security, another victim joining the sad ranks of Quadcopterhat, Vinylhat, Alsoumbrellahat, and Rockethat (to be fair, I knew that last one wasn’t going to fly at all, either by security or later when we actually tried to launch it).
MIT, so long and thanks for all the Pneumonia from sitting out in the rain exposed for 5 hours straight.
(Photo Credit: Bryce Vickmark, a nice man who stalked me through the Infinite prior to the hat’s destruction)