Brian Spears

Poet, Editor, Teacher, Blogger.

Some People Just Suck

For the Thanksgiving holiday of 2003, Amy and I planned a trip to her brother’s house in northern New Mexico for the holidays. Actually, Amy planned the trip–she’s far more adventurous than I am and likes finding new ways to get to places she’s been to before–and in this case, she discovered US Route 50 in Nevada, also known as the Loneliest Road in America. So we drove it part of the way there, and sure enough, it’s the loneliest road in America.

And on that road, there was a shoe tree. What’s a shoe tree? This is a shoe tree.

It’s seems like nothing spectacular on its own–just a tree with hundreds of pairs of abandoned shoes hanging from it–until you realize that no one lives out here. We would drive miles between houses. So almost everyone who’d donated to the shoe tree had gone out of their way to do it. It was one of those slightly cheesy Americana things, but no one was making a profit off of it. There was no one offering to take a Polaroid of you with the tree for five bucks, no side road with a gate charging ten bucks a carload. It was just a tree by the side of the road, and people flinging their shoes into it.

That’s Amy holding her shoes, the ones she brought specifically to sling into the tree, and that’s me trying to get them up there as well. We were standing in near zero degree temperatures, and for a couple of people who don’t particularly like it when it gets down to fifty, that’s a major sacrifice.

So why do I bring all this up? And what’s the point of the title?

Some vandals have cut down the shoe tree. And those people suck.

I know, it’s just a shoe tree–we’re not talking about a crime against humanity or a tragedy of epic proportions. But it still sucks and it’s still bullshit and it’s still going to bother me for a while. And in the meantime, here’s a link to a poem I wrote about US Route 50 which was published in storySouth in 2008 and which will appear in my book (coming very soon!) A Witness in Exile.

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January 5, 2011 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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