Tobacco Stains On The Old Man’s Toothless Lower Jaw

Michigan’s Upper Peninsula
July, ’80

I biked in mostly rain today, but I did manage to perform a good deed.
On the highway, I found some tools that had fallen off a semi-truck.
Knowing that the tools were high quality and therefore expensive, and
also knowing that the trucker probably was pissed when he discovered
his tools missing, I reflected on the times when I had lost something
of value. I would tell myself, “Whoever ends up with my stuff needs it
more than I do,” or at least I hoped it happened that way. Keeping
that thought in mind, I set out to play the middleman in order to make
that hope come true.

I was a little disappointed at first since I couldn’t find anybody who
I thought would be extremely joyful over a gift of tools. I needed to
get rid of them, though. I didn’t need another thirty pounds weighing
down my bike. I was thinking about handing them over to just anybody when I
road past a restaurant and saw a man and a woman getting into their
car. The man was in a T-shirt, and, as I approached him, the tobacco
stains on his toothless lower jaw identified him as the man I was
looking for. I road up to the car and said, “I found these tools on
the highway. I can’t use them, but maybe you can.” Then I handed him
the tools. At first he appeared confused, even a little frightened.
But, after he realized I meant no harm, he thanked me very kindly, and
his wife even rolled down her window and voiced kind words of
gratitude. I was glad that I had waited until I had found the right
person to give my gift of tools. In fact, I was very pleased with myself.


About bwinwnbwi

About me: Marvin Gaye’s song, "What’s Going On" was playing on the jukebox when I went up to the counter and bought another cup of coffee. When I got back, the painting on the wall next to where I was sitting jumped out at me, the same way it had done many times before. On it was written a diatribe on creativity. It was the quote at the bottom, though, that brought me back to this seat time after time. The quote had to do with infinity; it went something like this: Think of yourself as being in that place where infinity comes together in a point; where the infinite past and the infinite future meet, where you are at right now. The quote was attributed to Hermann Hesse, but I didn’t remember reading it in any of the books that I had read by him, so I went out and bought Hesse’s last novel, Magister Ludi. I haven’t found the quote yet, but I haven't tired of looking for it either.
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