Johnny America


These Hands


Illustration of a small hand and a large hand.

I want to do big things with my small hands.  For ex­am­ple, there are sev­er­al dif­fi­cult gui­tar riffs I want to learn, but these riffs re­quire hero­ic fin­ger stretch­es across the guitar’s neck. With prac­tice I be­lieve I can fig­ure out how to play the riffs with my small hands.  If I suc­ceed, I think peo­ple will be im­pressed when they see my small hands mov­ing up and down the fret­board at high speed, ac­com­plish­ing things that come much eas­i­er to peo­ple with large hands. 

When I was younger, I want­ed to be an NFL quar­ter­back. I was a de­cent ath­lete, and I threw a beau­ti­ful spi­ral, but as I got old­er and moved to a larg­er foot­ball, I couldn’t grip it prop­er­ly.  My spi­rals be­came wound­ed ducks and I be­gan to un­der­stand that I was not go­ing to be an NFL quarterback.

My first job out of col­lege was in the ad­ver­tis­ing de­part­ment of Rin­gling Broth­ers cir­cus. One of the girls in my de­part­ment loved my hands.  She con­stant­ly com­pared them to the cute hands of her lit­tle broth­er.  One night af­ter work she in­vit­ed me out for a drink.  I told her I had to wax my car.  I knew this was a lame ex­cuse, but I didn’t want to spend time with some­one who said I had ba­by hands. 

I think most peo­ple, if asked, would say they pre­fer men who have large, pow­er­ful hands like you see in the movies and on TV.  Clint East­wood in the Dirty Har­ry movies or John Hamm as Don Drap­er in Mad Men are two such men.  They use their large hands to shoot guns, beat the shit out of peo­ple and em­brace women.

I’ve been dat­ing a woman at work for the past cou­ple of months.  Her name is Rose and she has nev­er said any­thing about my hands.  Odd­ly, she keeps pic­tures of her ex-boyfriend around her apart­ment.  In one pic­ture he’s at the beach hold­ing a pitch­er of beer and his hand is the size of an oven mitt.  This is a guy she al­most mar­ried.  She won’t tell me why they broke up. 

When I em­brace Rose I try my best to chan­nel the way I feel di­rect­ly to my fin­ger­tips.  I re­al­ize this sounds kind of strange and I have no idea if she feels any­thing.  I’m afraid to ask.  I’m sure Rose has no­ticed my small hands and I have to be­lieve she has com­pared them to her ex-boyfriend’s hands.  I try not to dwell on this.  In­stead I fo­cus on how good I feel when Rose is in my arms.  Whether she feels the same or whether she feels like she’s be­ing poked with su­per-tiny ba­by fin­gers is some­thing I guess I’ll nev­er know.

Filed under Fiction on April 17th, 2020

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