Dan Patterson

The other day, I was happy.

I found a pair of size 13.5 extra-wide tennis shoes. Size 14 extra-wide tennis shoes are easier to come by, not the elusive 13.5 ones.

The other day, I got mad.

The object of my ire was not my newly found “kicks,” but what was on the bottom and even part of the top of my new shoes.

The soles of my never-worn, knock-off Xxzzzof shoes were almost completely wrapped up and in sticky manufacturing labels.

What is wrong with that, you ask? Well, those stickers were about 3 inches square. They must have been invented for a Fort Knox door seal.

It was a painstakingly arduous chore attempting to peel off those stupid stickers. My laborious and lengthy task turned into a series of mini-mad fits.

Those vicious tags became more sticky, as I discovered they were 12 times stronger than the paper it was used on.

However, I did discover what I always thought was true. I am borderline ambidextrous dyslexic.

How did I do that, you ask? Somehow, I am not quite sure; both of my thumbnails were emasculated while attempting to scrape away the labels using an industrial-size box opener.

It was time for a famous “Blood River Bottom” Granny Salmon home remedy. With my new tennis shoes safely in hand, I headed for the shed (not a she-shed.)

When in doubt, never doubt coal oil. Yes, I said coal oil. You can take the boy out of Hico, but you can’t take Hico out of the boy.

The soles of the new tennis shoes received an extra-vigorous anointment of coal oil. It was to no avail. A new dilemma suddenly came like an epiphany in the shed.

The new tennis shoes were deeply shrouded in a vapor of coal oil. I could not return them to their rightful place in Ann’s garage. I dared not place them in Ann’s sunroom.

Well, I have long thought myself a poor, bottom-shelf version of a renaissance man. I had a no-fail plan.

How often do you ask, “How often do you have these plans?” Sadly, I probably have them too often.

My friend, Ed Tayloe, once said, “Drastic times call for drastic men with drastic plans.”

I was confident my drastic plan would be very fruitful.

Resting in a high and stately manor on the top shelf of the tool cabinet was the big-boy, jumbo, heavy-duty and no-holds-barred Chicago Pneumatic belt sander.

I believed that the heavenly voice of redemption and reason just appeared to me in the hazy daze of my epiphany.

I was able to achieve only a limited amount of success. Luckily, I was able to reduce the saturation of sticky stickers by 51%. Regrettably, I also reduced 49% of the sole on my new but now used right tennis shoe.

Well, now my once new and never worn tennis shoes were whop-sided and smelled like coal oil.

One of our Alexa toys was reposing in the shed. I had earlier asked her to play a little “old time” bluegrass — yes, there is a big difference in old time and today’s junk.

About then, “Keep on The Sunny Side of Life” by the Carter Family cranked up. That great old gospel tune and my memory of Granny made the afternoon pretty good.

So what if the sole of my right tennis shoe is “skint” down shorter than the other one.

Because of a couple of operations, my left leg is now a full inch and a half shorter than the right. That almost evens everything out.


DAN PATTERSON, who’s retired from the Paris Parks and Recreation Department, grew up near the state line and now lives in Paris. He can be reached by email at jdanpat@yahoo.com.

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