Mad As A Hatter

by J. J. HUNSECKER · January 24, 2008

Mad Hatter

It seems like Manhattan sushi epicures may begin to suffer from the same ailments of hatmakers in the 19th century. Despite our childhood memories of Lewis Caroll's cautionary character the Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland, New Yorkers are forging ahead without heeding the latest warnings. Said local Sara Barokas:

"It's something I enjoy, I don't eat sushi every day, so in moderation is it really a problem? It sounds like one of those everyday things they tell us could be harmful. Last week, what was it, caffeine for pregnant women is harmful? That's common sense." [NY Times]

The idiom "mad as a hatter," which gave Lewis Caroll his inspiration, refers to the effects that the mercury, which was used in the process of creating felt hats, had on hatmakers. Some side-effects include erratic, flamboyant behavior as well as drooling and mood swings. Great, as if we needed more Nello Balans running around town!