Today Everyone’s Shoes Are Too Big

Today everyone’s shoes are too big. Had a nap for dinner. Ice cream for dessert. Lack of options might do that to you. They did it to me.

Found my way home just in time for dinner and dancing, laughing and singing, chores.

My mother waited up and I pulled into the yard in the back of the pickup truck that picked me up without a sound and brought me down for the weekend.

Dinner was good but there was too much allspice. For being such an omnipotent spice it sure is not potent. Mostly tasteless and a waste of my time. Time and time again. Fraught with quandaries and bedrock quarry queries double-spaced, two-sided, one-inch margins, fastened with a solitary staple in the upper left-hand corner and handed in on time and on budget. Not budging.

Caroline Area Man Returns… The headline triumphantly declares. Ta da.
182Things to Do in 82 Hours.

Thor’s Day:
1. Trudging to work through freshly fallen slop that soaks socks and causes cusses and curses and cold wet feet and cold wet blue suede shoes.
2. Carrying the equivalent of a family of seven small Mexican children’s belongings in a duffle bag with wheels incapable of contending with the freshly fallen slop. Causing more cursing and cussing and sore shoulders and backs as Metro riders glare and stare sideways and endways and otherways otherwise their misinterpreted warmth may have warmed and dried cold wet feet and blue suede shoes.
3. Arrive Late, Leave Early: A Guide to Being the Model Employee will be the title of my first self-help books authored under Oprah’s Dr. Phil imprint, Pompous Asshole Publishers.
4. Taxi driver going 170 on freeway to freedom. Passing ambulances like they were stopped or going backwards. Better make it to the deathbed on time. Freedom costs 35-dollars.
5. Got more action at the Pierre Elliot Trudeau security checkpoint than the last 24 years combined. Did he just grab my ass? That is Pierre Elliot for you. Ain’t nothing but a horn dog.
6. Planes rides that resemble trying to come out of anaesthesia as a “doctor” in a Bangkok back alley removes your kidney so you can pay what you owe to the boozy bookies and hopped-up hookers. Never really coherent but you end up reading a magazine and it takes you three days and you arrive a mere 2 and a half hours later. Fondled. Defiled. Checked for contraband. Crammed into a bubble pack for easier dispensing between Blackberry Bob and the last guy on earth with glasses to read Angels and Demons from best selling author and poet laureate J.R.R.L. Stineken. Overseen by unseen dragon films. Friend or foe? The age old question was answered and you without your head set.
7. Pop. Pop. Pop. You’re spit out in time for your guts to double back on themselves and you stagger drunkenly through temporary corridors detoured due to perpetual Calgary International Airport construction. New staff lounge this year, to avoid further staff infections like the head cold epidemic of 2005. Tragedy. Around temporary corners. Corralled through temporary passages between temporary walls with drywall mud still showing. Painting is permanent. Drunkenly. Less a kidney. Out of debt. A kilogram of Anne Hache and Vince Vaughn smuggled through non-existent temporary border guard checkpoints hidden in places not even your mother would scour with rough washcloths like 60-grit sandpaper when you were a child. Just for good measure. Lipstick lesbians and unlikely comedic stars of stage and screen fetch exorbitant prices on the street. An Anne Hache used to be worth a Harrison Ford and a David Schwimmer, but those were the 90s and everyone was into that sort of thing then, even if no one would admit to it. Today on the street an Anne Hache will fetch a Emilo Estevez and maybe half a Matt Dillion. But a Vince Vaughn is pretty lucrative. After Old School you could get a Ben Stiller and a Jennifer Anniston for a Vince Vaughn. Since The Break Up the price has dropped a little, but you can still get a Jennifer Anniston and an Owen Wilson. All you can think of, aside from the post-flight air sickness, and you without your bag, is how terrible the kilogram of Anne Hache and Vince Vaughn chaff as you wander through the temporary corridors. Airports are places or perpetual and permanent impermanence. Kind of like your 20s.
8. Temporary terminals terminate at temporary exits. Service entrances temporarily transformed into terminal termination spots when the Lacrosse player sneers towards a security guard with a Cosmo Kramer key-ring on a small gold chain on her belt and she turns and clicks and pops and the frosted glass doors open in and we all walk out. Knots. Knots. Knots.
9. Customary long lost airport awkwardness replaces knots, knots, knots. Sweet hellos. Sweet small talk. Sweet nothings. Hints conceived, sent, received, ignored. Knots. Knots. Knots.
10. Car rides are for catching up.
11. Dinners don’t always get made. Best-laid plans don’t always get made. Beds don’t always get made. Deadlines don’t always get made. Things get left behind. Things get left out. Gigs don’t always get made. On time. At all. Not always.
12. Comedy of dirty windshields and uncooperative drive thru operators. Wendy. Tim. McDo. Doh! One hour later. Half hour later. One hour and one half hour later. Right on time. Maybe next time.
13. $7 each. $7 both.
14. Rock.
15. Roll.
16. Coke.
17. Water.
18. Spicy Caesar with a twist of lime and a hint of lemon and 2:30am arrives days later when the only memory of lost Thai kidney beans is a jagged scar that you can’t remember where you got it. Your wife tells you vacation. Paragliding. Hang gliding. Hanging on for dear life to the idea that you are somehow outrageously unique and miles more interesting than you were this morning because you fight all the other tourists for the best photo-op, for a crack at the best hooker in the hookah bar. Ooooo, hookah. How uniquely outrageous you are with your peach flavoured tobacco and your kilogram of Anne Hache and Vince Vaughn crammed in your crotch to keep the dogs at bay. Your grandma, my grandma, sitting by the fire, would laugh at you and call you a pansy and then punch you out and extract your last remaining kidney with a salad fork and a dull pie knife.
19. Telephone Girls.
20. John Wayne’s True Grit.
21. Future Creature.
22. Lily’s On Mars.
23. When Johnny shot the man it was for money.
24. When the law came it was for me.
25. Rollicking.
26. Dance party.
27. Cool kid scene seen.
28. Hey did you know? I own the moon!
30. 2:30 am: brother to Brother: “We will come if we can stay.” “You can stay.”
31. Party.
32. Party.
33. Party.
34. The male model with the unwashed hair screams in a Bahstan accent: “Don’t be sucha hahd on!” So I don’t.
35. A guy named Cody I barely know runs herd. “Which one of you assholes drives a rust-coloured Ford? It is parked in the neighbours driveway. Move it. Move it.” “Hey you assholes, when you are going from the basement to the pool keep it down, Lanny is trying to sleep off the night before.” “Don’t be sucha hahd on.” Cody weighs 120-pounds. Stands 6-feet and change. Dripping wet with his black boxer briefs hanging from his hollow hips. “Hey Wolf, is there somewhere I can put these?” Holds up dripping boxer briefs. “Put them behind the garbage.” Looks around confused at which pile of garbage Wolf refers to. “Don’t forget.” “Don’t be sucha hahd on.”
36. A rolly-polly man named Steve tells tales of Criterion Collection pre-order sales on Amazon.com and duping gamers out of their children’s trust funds with deft Playstation 3 manoeuvres. Takes off his shirt. Apologizes. Stows his camera and pants in a footlocker at the foot of the king-sized waterbed a near-passed out small town rock star lolls on. Asks to borrow a quarter for the bus and drops it off the balcony into the awaiting cleavage of the busty girl from my high school standing below. Bullseye. “Who did that?” “Don’t be sucha hahd on!”
37. Prom date night: Brother’s prom date tumbles drunkenly off of the diving board in an attempt to do a duet dive with some surly anonymous rig pig Brother doesn’t know. They both resurface. Another successful dive.
38. Brother lounges in his robe after a hot tub and a sauna. “You are like Hugh Hefner.” “I have heard that before.” “Don’t be sucha hahd on!”
39. Anonymous surly rig pig: “Wolf! How are ya?” “Do I know you?” “I was here last week.” “Oh.” “Don’t be sucha hahd on!”
40. 5:30 am: Brother to brother: “You can’t stay.”
41. Driven from excess to driving blizzards at 6 am. 24 hours from when the day began 24 hours ago. 24-hour party people. Eye lids stoop and droop and get too heavy to hold and nearly fall. Chinese fire drill at the next stop sign. In the middle of nowhere. Let go. Hold on. Nearly there. There. 6:30 am. Time to go to work. Time to go to bed. Bed.
Fred’s Day.
1. Sleep is a waste of time.
2. Don’t waste time.
3. Won’t waste time.
4. Up and at it.
5. Rise and shine.
6. And give God your glory, glory.
7. Children of the Lord.
8. Roll out the barrel.
9. And we’ll have a barrel of fun. 1-2-3
10. Roll out the barrel.
11. And we’ll have a barrel of fun.
12. Dinner at 4.
13. Play date before hand.
14. Play.
15. Build fort.
16. Fall asleep in fort.
17. An uncle’s sleeping head to a toddler is just something else to drive a truck on.
18. Arrive late. Leave early. Repeat.
19. Family.
20. Family.
21. Family.
22. Turkey.
23. Family.
24. Stuffing.
25. Family.
26. Gravy.
27. Family.
28. So far so good.
29. Return home in time for chores.
30. Cows to milk. Goats to feed. Pigs to slop.
31. Clop. Clop. Clop.
32. Good cowboy vs. bad cowboy in father’s too big boots chasing newborn calves who can barely walk in a show of swoon inducing manliness.
33. Yee-haw.
34. Giddy up.
35. And whatnot.
36. Baby Brutus slobber on city kid coat sleeves.
37. You might want to wash that.
38. You might want to burn that.
39. Clop. Clop. Clop.
40. Wiping cow shit, pig shit, goat shit, horseshit, bullshit, and other sorts of shits off our father’s too big boots on the wet grass.
41. Rain will was all the shit away.
42. Away into the water table and into the well and into the pipes and into the taps and into the tea. And we wonder why our water is hazy and tastes like shit.
43. Easter is a weekend of mystery.
44. Enough of this shit. Let’s play some sort of game.
45. Cue the fart jokes.
46. Team pee.
47. Team fart.
48. Team me.
49. Team you.
50. Team the other guy.
51. Something about faces stinging and wincing and bleeding from too much nostalgic laughter.
52. Father calling his children beautiful.
53. Hilarity.
54. Hilarity.
55. Tomfoolerly.
56. Shenanigans.
57. Chicanery.
58. Hilarity.
59. She who knows the least knows the most and wins the day.
60. We all win the day.
61. We all eat chips and drink orange pop and watch Mother model fashions found on the runways of New York and Yonkers and key chains for the children with their names on them and the WTC on them. As a reminder.
62. Of whose keys they are.
63. Mine.
64. Yours.
65. Ours.
66. Sighing. Laughing. Grinning. Winning. Just like real life.
67. ‘Night.
Saturn’s Day.
1. Morning creeps in and reminds us that sleep is for the weak.
2. We are weak but the sun is in our eyes.
3. More dinner. At 2 this time.
4. Brother sleeps and Mother peels potatoes. Telling Mother stories and listening to hers. She is convinced, “you should really get on that modern art kick.” You really should. You are. Too late.
5. Sad stories need to be written. It is where the hope lives. Hope is easy to hold when it is a light balloon on a string and there is no breeze, just joy and success and things that cause you to smile spontaneously in the middle of sentences. Hope is easiest to have when you don’t need it. When your most pressing concern concerns pressing your slacks and the rate that your follicles choke off blood to your hair and it slowly dies and falls out in a natural and stately pattern so you look like a distinguished diplomat. Hope is something completely different when you must cling to it to stay afloat, and it wriggles and hiccups and breezes kick up and blow it so hard in the other direction that the string snaps and it blows away and you can only helplessly watch it waft into the clouds where it will shrivel and pop and get lodged in the intake of a prop plane and burn up on re-entry and your most pressing concern concerns pressing on another hopeless day and the rate at which the chemo chokes off the blood to your hair and it falls out in great clumps in rapid succession of patches on your pillow and down the bathtub drain leaving you looking dilapidated and dying. Making you look the part.
6. Sad stories need to be written. It is where the hope lives.
7. Mother has one for you. Any day now.
8. Now she has potatoes.
9. Now she has questions.
10. With answers you stumble upon and trip over and spit out, embarrassed and ashamed. And she is accepting and comforting and loving like always. She is mother.
11. Mother Mother.
12. Wolf Mother.
13. Brother rises and misses seeing and needs your help, or the help of your glasses you wore in Jr. High. And you scrape off the 10 year old dried tears and he says they aren’t so bad and that he will keep them.
14. Family filters in.
15. Arrive late.
16. Leave early.
17. You cannot outrun heredity.
18. Are those who partake in races racists?
19. Are we?
20. We race.
21. We run and slip and trip and fall. We wrestle and fight. We kick and scream. We tear each other’s new shirts that Mother picked out especially for us on Fifth Avenue. We get mud on our good shoes and cow shit, pig shit, goat shit, horseshit, bullshit, and other sorts of shits on the cuffs of our good pants. And we laugh and scream and yell and holler.
22. We win.
23. We lose.
24. Race is a new word for chores.
25. The chores are done.
26. Let’s eat.
27. Let’s eat ham.
28. Let’s eat potatoes and corn.
29. Let’s eat salad with beans.
30. Let’s eat turnips and sweet potatoes.
31. Let’s eat pickles and Lemon Meringue Pie.
32. Let’s loll on couches with full bellies and watch hockey players take the night off.
33. Let’s play the same games we’ve played before.
34. Let’s laugh.
35. Let’s scream.
36. Let’s make butter in sealer jars with fresh cows milk and eat it sheepishly on crackers and comment on how remarkably it tastes like butter.
37. Let’s high five and run around until we can hardly breathe and each breath is laced with cow shit, pig shit, goat shit, horseshit, bullshit, and other sorts of shits. Which sounds nauseating enough, but surprisingly tastes better than car exhaust. If you don’t mind the smell. Shits smell like shits.
38. I know! Let’s make belts. Cowboy belts. With conchos and words and pictures and big gold buckles made of brass with trucks on them and cats on them and bulldozers on them and wear them out and walk around like we are some sort of wonderful. Yeah, let’s do that. Even if we are phoneys, let’s do that.
39. Let’s watch old movies that end happily.
40. Let’s watch new movies that end sadly.
41. Let’s watch these in bed and eat chips and drink orange pop.
42. Confucius says: He who eats chips in bed has crummy sleep.
43. Male model with unwashed hair says: Don’t be sucha hahd on!
44. Night.
Sonny’s Day.
1. Tap.
2. Tap.
3. Tap.
4. Time to get up.
5. Snooze.
6. Tap.
7. Tap.
8. Tap.
9. Time to get up.
10. Up
11. Beans for breakfast.
12. French toast for breakfast.
13. Pie and ice cream for breakfast.
14. Mugs of cow’s milk, fresh at dawn, for breakfast.
15. Sausages and fried ham for breakfast.
16. Green eggs for breakfast.
17. Breakfast for breakfast.
18. Belt building.
19. Tap.
20. Tap.
21. Tap.
22. The sounds of belts getting built.
23. Wallow in the cow shit, pig shit, goat shit, horseshit, bullshit, and other sorts of shits one last time, for old time’s sake, for memory’s sake. For the week hours the next day when we look back on all we had and all we left and how we feel about it all and how it makes us weep and whimper and ache to go back to the place we just left of our own free will and it is our own damn fault and always will be.
24. And family furrows brows and asks why we leave and why we say what we say and why we take pictures to show friends who don’t know.
25. Our answers aren’t any good. We don’t know. We will never know.
26. Friends don’t know. But they need to. We need to. We all need to know. We all need to know love and solace and beauty and hope. Stories like these need to be told. It is where hope and happiness live. In bittersweet beautiful places like these. In hearts and hugs and jokes and high-fives. In Nephew’s driving trucks on sleeping uncle’s heads. In chores. In fresh cow’s milk. In fresh cow’s butter sheepishly eaten off of wheat thins. In team pee. In team fart. In Mother’s loving potatoes. In Father’s loving belts. In Brother’s loving evictions. In Sister’s loving hands. It is not jokish or to be poked fun of or made light of, even if it might be. It is that because we are uncomfortable with ourselves. But for you Mother, for you Father, for you Brother and you Sister. For you who are comfortable with yourselves and in yourselves, you have found the key. You know the answer. You have it. You are envied and admired. Inspirational and beautiful.
27. Leave late. Arrive later. Leave early. Airport bound rides in pickup trucks that picked us up. Airport bound rides in silence. In knowing. In unknowing. In loving. In laughter. In no time at all. Half an hour late.
28. Backwards plane rides and lost time. Leave in light. Land in dark. More taxi rides. More ambulances to be passed. More time to be past. Looking. Looking for things you’ve left behind. Of your own free will. When will you learn? Will you ever learn? I doubt. So I doubt it.
29. Night.
30. Exeunt.
Don’t be sucha hahd on!

Photos of Caroline Area Man's secret lair by Caroline Area Man himself.

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