Sidey’s Weekend Theme is “Odd Jobs”….
Around about the time that Ugg discovered fire, his friend Ojob created the hat. Both kept you warm but Ojob’s invention was better, since it was transportable and didn’t attract wolves to your camp.
Over the centuries the family changed its name slightly and the Oddjob Millinery Company became a family business with some truly inventive creations. They designed the knight’s helmet with the little strip over the nose (because everyone knows that if someone swings a sword at your face the really important thing is that you don’t break your nose), they designed the pirates’ bandanna, though it was basically a folded-over handkerchief, as they didn’t put too much effort in since they rightly reckoned that the pirates weren’t going to pay them anyway.
They invented a Magician’s Hat, an incredibly complicated exercise in quantum physics, since like the Tardis the hat had to be bigger on the inside than on the outside as it had to house not just the owner’s head but also a rabbit, three white doves and a piece of ribbon that went on forever.
They came up with the German WW1 helmet with the spike on top, since they reckoned the methodical Germans would need somewhere to keep their paperwork.
During the 18th Century offshoots of the family arrived at Ellis Island on the Poorandhuddledmasses. Business in the US itself was steady but slow, until the day came that changed the lives and the fortune of the family forever.
Somebody invented baseball.
The Oddjobs put their Thinking Caps on (they had light-bulbs fixed to the top that lit up whenever they had an idea) and set to work. For actual baseball players they invented the metal protective helmet, and quickly realised that by cutting off the earpiece farthest from the pitcher they could diversify into protection lower down. But the real goldmine was the fans.
The Oddjobs invented the beer-hat, from which fans could drink beer while watching a game (an upmarket version for Ascot was one of their rare failures, since when the champagne bottles over each ear popped they tended to propel the owner backwards into a wall). But the income from the beer-hat was peanuts (you could also store peanuts in it) compared to the humble baseball cap. Fans would buy up to fourteen hats each, as long as their team’s logo was slightly different on each one. Not only that but women, and children and people who didn’t like baseball at all would wear them as well. Wearing the peak straight, curved, backwards or slightly to one side each meant something different. The baseball cap became a statement, a piece of clothing that says more than t-shirts that actually say something.
Their crowning glory (sorry) was the invention of the Velcro strip. This led to the One Size Fits All cap, they didn’t even have to make different sizes anymore.
The beginning of the end, though, came when the supposedly important people of the City in London (not the doctors or the firemen or the police, people who moved figures around on screens) wanted something to tell them apart from ordinary plebs (like doctors or firemen or the police) on the Tube. Joe and Jack Oddjob, the brothers now running the company, came up with the bowler hat. The toffs were thrilled, never knowing that the Oddjobs were laughing at their arrogance, since the hat represented a potty turned upside down upon their heads.
It was the bowler that proved to be the undoing of Joe Oddjob, though. He realised that a bowler with a steel brim would be a lethal weapon against any opponent who didn’t have, say, a gun, and so he perfected the model and applied to become Goldfinger’s henchman.
His brother Jack knew it would end badly, since the life expectancy of Bond villains’ staff tend to be about five minutes shorter than that of the villains themselves, but the lure of fifteen minutes of fame was too strong, and Joe headed off to a life of crime, henching (nah, me neither) and eventual death in a hail of bad Bond puns.
A grieving Jack threw his hat (even sorrier) at the millinery business, but since he had no training in anything else he took to whatever work he could find, painting, tarmacing your driveway, turning up at your door selling Christmas trees and making the leak in your dishwasher even worse.
The Odd Job man was born.