Saturday, May 8, 2010

Why I Love Wolf T-shirts? *Part 2 of 3*

To say that I lived two years free from wolves and the t-shirts that they occupy would be a lie. It would be far more appropriate to say that I lived two years in denial. If I were to provide full disclosure I would actually acknowledge that I have denied my life of wolves for 12 years. As a 24-year old that means that half of my life has been spent in denial. Half of my life ignoring one of the things that is near and dear to my soul. The one truth in this story is that I tried to forget. I tried to close out the 'Most Likely to Wear a Wolf T-shirt' part of my life. I realize now that I was wrong, but we're still not to that point in the story yet.

South Dakota put me back on the road to recovery. I had finished two years as a teacher. I'd spent my evenings running by herds of deer and my weekends driving by herds of buffalo, elk and antelope on my way up to Rapid City and the Black Hills. On this particular weekend I had gone hiking in the Black Hills just off of the Needles Highway. The Needles is known for it's curvy roads and granite outcroppings, but that has absolutely nothing to do with moving this story forward. So here's a picture.

As for the story, my friend Loy and I were driving back from The Needles and passed through Hill City which is just outside Rapid City. Notice. There is a pattern in how they name their population centers. Action/Outdoorsy word City (and people thought Sarah Palin was original with children's names.) This is actually a false observation, not that Sarah Palin gives her children less than normal names, but rather that South Dakota actually names its towns after less than commonly used male names.

In no particular order you have: Allen, Kyle, Philip, Martin, Mitchell, Gregory, Harrold, Clark, Howard and Brandon. I, of course, would be remiss if I didn't mention their English Boarding school friends: Champberlain, Langford, Wilmot and Webster. As always there is one annoying French kid who is hated by everyone else. His name is Pierre. Check your 4th grade state capital knowledge if that doesn't make sense. If you haven't noticed my authorial focus is less than stellar. Think of it as if you are reading the actual thoughts of someone with severe ADHD. Jumping from point to point. I'll get to the story eventually, just enjoy the ride until we get there.

As I was saying, we were driving through the non-male named Hill City and we were struck with the mood to stop at one of the hilarious gift shops along the way. When I say hilarious I need simply to let you knot that the Sturgis Bike Rally takes place les than an hour away. There are wolf t's galore, leather articles of clothing (read: assless chaps), stupid inspirational posters with pictures of a tiny tree that says 'Determination: Growing strong in the face of big business' and much much more. While I had been exposed to South Dakota wolf hats and had even purchased some for friends in the previous year, the force and strength of the wolf t's had not affected me since I had left Virginia.

I decided it was time to have my revenge. I had discovered who had made the 'write-in'. None other than my friend A.W. Simmons. Lucky for me, him and I had planned a Thistle and Shamrock trip to Ireland and Scotland to tour the Irish countryside and hike the West Highland Way in Scotland. We were going to end with a summit of Ben Nevis (tallest peak in the UK). My plan was perfect. I would buy him an orange wolf shirt. Complete with three wolves, forested background, eagle flying in the sky and Native American totems along the side. It was more then good. It was perfect. I'd drive it back to Virginia. Fly it across the Atlantic. Pack it across Ireland. Carry it 100 miles up, over, around and through the Scottish highlands and present it to him on the summit of Ben Nevis. There was no way he could refuse. I would buy myself a animal tee, but not a wolf shirt. The glory would be in making him wear a wolf shirt while basking on a mountain peak with a two green eyed mountain lions gracing the contours of my more than chiseled pectoral and abdominal musculature. I would then shake my fists in vigor as the tables had turned and would point my finger at Simmons doing my best impression of a combined Wario/Quagmire laugh. Geh. Geh. Geh. Look who's wearing a wolf tee now Simmons.

All was in order. Bags packed. Tickets printed. Copy of Twilight in hand for in-flight reading (Twilight thing isn't a joke. Shit is a legit. Don't worry we'll get to Jacob later. Kid is a baller.) Most important I had the shirts. I'd even managed to sneak a peak to some mutual friends who approved of the plan. Sweet sweet revenge. I could taste it.

The trip was playing like a record.

1. Plane takes off.

2. Plane lands.

3. Pick up rental car.

4. Tour Dublin.

5. Drink a Guinness. (If you go to Dublin, go to St. James Gate =

6. Drive to Cork.

7. Tour Jameson factory.

8. Make out with Blarney Stone.

9. Drive to Bed and Breakfast.

10. Eat dinner.

11. Visit first country Irish bar.

Then the record skipped. When I say skipped it would probably be better to say the machine exploded, threw the record into oblivion, but that would be overly dramatic. At this little Irish pub called Ada's we met Patrick O'Mahony. Patrick was an englishman who lived in Ireland as he was married to lady who lived outside of Cork. He was a huge football (soccer) fan. Luckily, this was something that we were able to communicate about. He talked about the USA's chance at the upcoming World Cup and I knew enough famous soccer names to not sound like a complete idiot. It also earned us a Bulmer's or two. Then it happened. He asked if I had a Premiership Team that. Now I know that Chelsea and Man U are good. I even had a friend play for the Chelsea Ladies team. I also have numerous friends who root for Tottenham Hotspurs. Looking back, I very easily could have said any of these teams and ended it there. I, of course, didn't. Patrick proceeds to convince me to be a Wolverhampton Wanderers fan. As this conversation is taking place and I tell Patrick that I will be a Wolverhampton fan and will support them through and through. We began talking more about the Wolves, as they are more commonly known. Meanwhile, A.W. Simmons is snickering to himself. His snickering grows to uproarious laughter as he points at me and says. Geh! Geh! Geh! You just became a Wolves fan.

Shit. 'Most Likely to Wear a Wolf T-shirt'. Committed Wolverhampton fan. I could no longer escape. My revenge was foiled, as Simmons rightly turned down the shirt. I again moved to my previous denial tactic, but even I knew that it would no longer work. I was forced to start thinking seriously about what part wolves and the shirts that they so gracefully caress would play in life. There are those times in life when we are unsure of ourselves. Unsure of our strengths, unsure of where we are going. It's like we are Wanderers in vast world. This was one of those times. I didn't know where I was going with life. I didn't even know what I was good at. Throw in the fact that I was going it alone and it's not surprising that I was lost upon my return to Virginia...

*Proof of our tiny rental car, our visit to St. James Gate and the Summit of Ben Nevis

-One Man. One Moon.

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