ART IMITATES ART, AND THEN LIFE IMITATES THAT

In 2001, I participated in a kind of art swap called “20 things. 20 people.” The idea was to make 20 pieces of art to be distributed amongst the project’s 20 participants and, in return, you would receive 20 unique art pieces. Neat.

Since I’m not particularly crafty, I decided to use the project as a clearinghouse for ideas I’d had over the years–things I believed had some kind of (creative, financial) potential, but a potential was too lazy or too unskilled or just too busy to realize by myself. I had hoped other people would take these ideas, one sent to each member of the project, and do something wonderful with them.

Among those ideas was one of my personal favorites, held over from the first dot-com boom, when everyone seemed to have a ridiculous amount of disposable income. Baby Wigs. Wigs for babies. The way I imagined Baby Wigs was they’d be made from soft yarn adhered to little skull caps that would fit snugly over your baby’s head. The yarn would enable designers to experiment with all kinds of adorable or impossible hairstyles–for instance, a golden yellow “bee hive” hairdo with little yarn bees attached to it–while still providing your baby with a practical hat to keep its crazy, bald head warm. I even went as far as naming the product–”Wigglewear”–because this is the way I focused my creative energy back in 2001. I would share the idea, in great detail, to anyone who would listen or anyone I could corner for several minutes, and many people thought it was a pretty viable product, particularly because babies are one of the two areas of consumer behavior where people will make purchases without a moment of rational thought. (Pets being the other category.)

Many years passed, and then I saw a commercial parody on Saturday Night Live for “baby toupees,” which was very funny because it featured babies in toupees. (Incidentally, my original idea for Baby Wigs was wigs made of synthetic human hair, because I thought it would be really hilarious. I only switched it to yarn because I realized I was in the minority of people who found babies with thick, bushy Ted Koppel haircuts hilarious.) As I said, the commercial was a parody, preying on the “insecurity” of babies who suffer from baldness. Funny, and a nice coincidence.

But now (via kottke’s “buzzfeed” sidebar) everything has come full circle, as I see there is a legitimate (sort of) company that actually manufactures real (intentionally hilarious) toupees for babies. And sure, they’re marketing them as Halloween costumes–babies love trick-or-treating, after all–but let’s be honest. Baby Toupees is definitely hoping these items become year-round fashion. And they’re right, too. I only hope the CEO of this company is the very same person who received that highly marketable idea from me in 2001.

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