Big hands matter

Published 10:15 am Thursday, March 10, 2016

“Arnold, let me see your hands,” barked Big John Hudson, as he sauntered into the diner.

None of the gentlemen, sitting around the big, round, oak table, bothered to look up from their plates filled with artery clogging goodness. Big John was known for his dramatic, bombastic, and — if you haven’t yet finished your first cup of coffee — sometimes irritating entrances. No one was willing to break their gastronomical stride, just to humor John on one of his morning tirades.

“Morning, John,” mumbled Tommy Jones — the senior statesman, and somewhat better mannered member of the Circular Congregation Breakfast Club. At eighty-two, Tommy had finally given into his doctor’s advice and was eating healthy. Since he wasn’t behaving like a Shop-Vac, inhaling short stacks and hash browns — much like Harry, who had recently given up fad diets like prune juice with Samoan sea kelp — Tommy had a few extra moments to focus on whatever nonsense was about to come spewing forth from Big John.

“C’mon, hands in, let me see what you’ve got,” directed John to Arnold, as he draped his jacket over the edge of his chair and took his place at the table. “I’ve been listening to the news about the Presidential campaigns, and it turns out you can’t be President if you have small hands.”

Arnold Tobin has dabbled with the idea of running for political office — he doesn’t care which office, has no desire whatsoever to go through the rigors of campaigning, and has no intention of changing anything should he ever get elected. Arnold reasons that things are bad enough — and, due to the law of unintended consequences, things get worse every time things get changed.

“You know the Bazillionaire, the guy from Brooklyn with New York Values — what is that, by the way — is that a real thing? He says the guy from Texas can’t be President because he’s really from Canada. He says what’s-her-name can’t be President because she’s not smart enough to work her emails. He says the guy from Florida can’t do it because his hands are too small.” Big John took a sip of his coffee, ordered two eggs over-easy with a side of links and wheat toast dripping in butter, took another sip of coffee, and returned to his monologue. “What does the size of somebody’s hands have to do with running for President?”

With Big John Hudson, it is difficult to gauge when he is asking a question just to stir the conversational pot, or when he is genuinely confused and looking for an answer.

“How big do you figure these are?” asked Arnold as he put down his fork and extended his arms toward the center of the table. No one at the table cared about the size of the hands on the guy from Florida, and they especially weren’t concerned with Arnold’s hands.

Silence encircled the table. With his palms up and arms out-stretched, Arnold looked like he was trying to levitate the sausage patties from Firewalker’s plate.

They look kind of medium sized to me,” offered Jimmy, uncharacteristically diplomatically. “Not very big, not really tiny, just kinda’ medium — maybe medium-plus — a strong medium.”

“So, the guy from Florida, the one with the dinky digits — are they O.J. Simpson glove small, or Michael Jackson just-one-glove small?” asked Harry, giving in to the need to join the fray.

“What’s the Brazilianaire have say about that Buckeye?” queried Tommy. “He’s the only one in the race that has actually governed anything. But, have you listened to his speeches? He’s got as much fire as a wet lamp wick in a windstorm.”

“Well, I’m thinking about voting for the guy from Vermont,” offered Mort. “I read on the internet that he’s a socialist and, if he gets elected, they’re going to redistribute all the Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, according to your need — and I need me a little Cherry Garcia.”


Larry Wilson is a mostly lifelong resident of Niles. His optimistic “glass full to overflowing” view of life shapes his writing. His essays stem from experiences, compilations and recollections from friends and family. Wilson touts himself as “a dubiously licensed teller of tall tales, sworn to uphold the precept of ‘It’s my story; that’s the way I’m telling it.’” He can be reached at