My Wife Got Me Shoes for Our 20th Anniversary. I Love Them.

All I got for my 20th anniversary from Toni was a pair of TOMS shoes. And they may be the coolest thing ever, because they showed how much she understands and knows me, and was willing to do a lot of work — a lot of work — to make them happen.

Two of my favorite writers are Kurt Vonnegut and Hunter S. Thompson. They're the ones I talk about constantly. The ones whose books I keep quoting when I give talks, and whose writing advice I keep stealing. I also like Ernest Hemingway, but like all other humans, I only have two feet.

There are artists who specialize in painting TOMS canvas shoes with personalized, individual designs. Artists like Decker Yazzie, a Native American artist in Ogden, Utah and owner of Soul2Sole. Toni contacted Decker and told him what she wanted.

She wanted two individualized shoes, painted with words and images symbolic of my two authors. She spent months researching these two, learning what things they were known for, searching for images that represented them. Images like HST's Gonzo Journalism fist or Vonnegut's birdcage and asshole drawings from Breakfast of Champions. She also found some of their well-known phrases, like Vonnegut's "so it goes." She also learned what kinds of typewriters they used (HST, a red IBM Selectric; Vonnegut, a Smith-Corona Courier).

Toni then double-checked and triple-checked all the images, made sure she labeled them correctly, and sent them off to Decker. To make sure she had the right images, she even sent them in separate emails to keep the authors straight. Then, when she sent the shoes, she printed a page for each author and sent them with the shoes to Decker. She said, "do your thing. Put images for each of them on each shoe," and Decker unleashed his artistic fury on them, even doing some of his own research about the book covers and titles. He even added their birth and death years on the backs of the shoes.

The end result is I have a Kurt Vonnegut left shoe and a Hunter S. Thompson right shoe. Which makes sense, since Vonnegut was more of a liberal, while HST was more of a right-ish libertarian.

Now, while other people have fist names — names they give their fists so they can "do my talking for me" — I'll have feet names.

Say hello to Kurt Vonnegut and Hunter S. Thompson.

I'd better learn karate first.

Jack: Well I'm gonna let St. Patrick and St. Michael do my talkin' for me!
Jack's Dad: You'll have to get through Tip O'Neal and Bobby Sands first.
Eddie: You call those fist names? Say hello to Bono and Sandra Day O'Connor.
Jack: Those are the stupidest fist names I've ever heard.

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