Hand-me-up shoes

Please don’t make fun of me for admitting this, but I want to come right out and tell you: Bigfoot is real. I know, because my wife gave birth to him and I wear his shoes.

We didn’t know we’d given birth to sasquatch. Like most happy, ignorant people, I always knew aliens and chubacabras were figments of imagination. It wasn’t until our son closed in on puberty that we realized how wrong we were. One day he came up to my shoulder. The next day he sat up in bed and broke through the roof.

He is hairy, he walks with that weird slumpy lope you see in all the bigfoot videos on YouTube, he’s hairy, and if you look closely at his feet you can watch them grow. Also, he’s hairy. This has made for some expensive trips to the shoe store, but for a brief time when he was 11, it worked out really well for me.

Because I don’t have feet, I have hooves. I think. I haven’t seen them since 1998, but I know this: my feet are small enough that I can confidently shop in the boys section if I really need to. My feet are so small I can’t walk over grates. I don’t even have feet, my legs just come to a point.

When the kid hit 11, his feet hit my size for about 45 minutes — just long enough to buy him a pair of Chucks that he grew out of as the clerk was boxing them up. When we got home, he tried to get them on but they got stuck on his big toe. So he tossed them into the growing mountain of spent sneakers and loped off into his room to forage for berries.

Those shoes, they called to me. They were gorgeous solid black Converse high-tops with red laces and a red star and they were cool.

My love for Converse high-tops is documented fully in my wedding photograph, in which I sport a Selleckian pervstache, a “Miami Vice” jacket with the sleeves rolled up, and black Chucks.

Chucks are the perfect American shoe and wearing them instills an exactitude of attitude that goes beyond simple cool, stepping confidently into disaffected hip, and I rocked them all the way to the cigar store where my buddy Dave laughed at my feet and asked me why in the hell I was wearing some kid’s shoes.

“I got them from my son.”

“Well, give them back, people are staring.”

“They don’t fit him anymore.”

“You’re wearing hand-me-ups?”

“I want my CDs back.”

I still have them. Sometimes I’ll throw an Elvis Costello record on th — I mean I’ll open my Elvis Costello Pandora station, put on my Chucks, and pretend it’s 1985. I mean more than sometimes. I mean —

I’m wearing them now.

Chris Garlington lives in a standard two kids, wife, dog, corner-lot, two-car dream package. He drives a 2003 Camry, sports a considerable notebook fetish, and smokes Arturo Fuente Partaga Maduros at the Cigar King as often as possible. His stories have appeared in Florida, Orlando, Orlando Weekly, Catholic Digest, Retort, Another Realm, The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, South Lit, and other magazines. His short story collection, “King of the Road,” is available on Amazon. His column “My Funny Life,” was nominated for a national humor award. He is the author of the infamous anti-parenting blog, Death By Children; the anti-writing blog, Creative Writer Pro; and co-author of “The Beat Cop’s Guide to Chicago Eats.”

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