Een Hond Met Een Hoed Op

The above expression is a Belgian phrase meaning, literally, “a dog in a hat.” It is used to describe things thatare familiar, yet out of place such as… (wait for it) A DOG IN A HAT! It’s a truly wonderful phrase, and also the subject of a book written by one of the early American cyclists to race over in Europe, who was himself a fine example of “een hond met een hoed op” by virtue of being a white guy on a bicycle (like most Belgians are) who was nevertheless an extreme oddity (at least at the time) by virtue of being an American.

I kept hoping that in my various adventures, I would come across an example that I could write about. I’m in California, the land of fruits and nuts. If you cannot find – quite literally – a dog in a hat here, where can you find one? Sunday I came close with the heavily tattooed guy in a wool beanie (normal) who was running (not normal for guys with lots of tattoos wearing wool beanies) with his little Pomeranian (even less normal, though not really out of place entirely). But I just didn’t feel like it measured up. I kept hoping for something really extraordinary, like George Hamilton tanning somewhere up in the Angeles Forest at one of the scenic overlooks. THAT would have been worthy.

So, I been left with this expression burning a hole in my pocket. And finally, I just couldn’t wait any longer. I had to post it. I needed to share it all with you. Now go out, all of ye, and keep your eyes peeled for dogs in hats.

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