Already Late and It’s Early Yet

Nearly everyone has heard the story about the cobbler’s children having no shoes. But what about the one about the barefoot cobbler? Do you know that story? No? Well let me explain.

The cobbler’s feet hurt and she took off her shoes to relieve the pain. Even when she got her shoes off, though, the pain continued. Friends suggested the cobbler visit a podiatrist. “No,” she said, “when I told the tailor that I wanted a blazer that fit a little tight and a little loose, he couldn’t figure out how to sew a blouse that would do both. It would be the same with a podiatrist. The podiatrist wouldn’t be able to figure out what’s causing my foot pain.”

So, rather than going to the podiatrist, who might have corrected the problem with her feet, the cobbler started going barefoot all the time. As a consequence, she had stone bruises on the bottom of her feet and painful puncture wounds where she stepped on thorns.

Regardless, her friends continued to hound her about doing something to dramatically reduce or eliminate the pain in her feet. They vowed to nag her until she visited a podiatrist. Their annoying insistence was evidence of their care.

The end of the story? The ending has not yet been written. Will the cobbler become crippled and confined to a wheelchair? Or will she relent, tell a podiatrist all about her foot pain, and undergo the treatment the podiatrist proposes, probably leading to an eventual elimination of the pain? Only time will tell. Her friends will continue harping on the need for her to visit a podiatrist until the cobbler relents. And then they will envelop her in a loving embrace, glad that she finally gave in to their loving insistence that she care for herself as much as she cares for those around her.

And the moral to that story is…


Mi novia and I are planning to make a road trip within the next few months. We will drive up the Great River Road which follows the Mississippi River. About a year ago, we drove part of the road north of us, making it almost to Minnesota, but we veered east just before reaching the Minnesota border. This time, our plan is to drive all the way up to the twin cities, where we will go to a coffee house “concert” by Peter Mayer. Though we’re not “groupies,” we look a bit like we are just that. But we’re not. Just to clarify. Our trip will be relatively slow and meandering, providing us (me, at least) with an outlet for my wanderlust. Apparently, I continue to seek something that eludes me. Even that “something” eludes me, inasmuch as I do not know what it is I am seeking. But I may find it. Or I may be in perpetual “seeking” mode. I rather suspect the latter is the case. But I do not know. I just do not know.

Perhaps I am seeking a place that will teach me what I need and/or want to know. A place both gentle and harsh, comfortable and unpleasant, accessible and hidden, welcoming and unfriendly, straightforward and mysterious. I skate back and forth along a narrow band of emotion and concepts and ideas, rocketing from one end of the spectrum to the other, occasionally stumbling off the edge of the band and tumbling through space before crashing into something that forces me to stop and get situated again. Awe and abject boredom are the antithesis to one another, but both reside in the same places in everyone’s brains. Unless, of course, I am “projecting,” which means (in psychology) placing one’s own negative traits or unwanted emotions onto others. I assume you are like me, when in fact you may be my polar opposite. Simultaneously, sometimes, I assume you are my polar opposite, when in fact you could be my intellectual and/or emotional twin.

I am fascinated, sometimes, by the ease with which I slide almost effortlessly between what seem to be utterly unrelated topics. On one hand, I find my facility with cognitive non sequiturs to be quite appealing, yet on the other I fret that it might be evidence of an irreparable cerebral flaw. What the hell does this to do with driving the Great River Road?


An acquaintance from my days as an association executive—a guy who did the same kind of work I did—retired a year or two (or more?) ago. He lived in Dallas, but had in the past talked about returning to his native New Mexico. After he retired, he bought a second home to serve as a retirement retreat, located in a village north of Albuquerque. Recently, he decided to make New Mexico his primary residence. And he reported on Facebook that he had purchased a Tesla. I like the idea of electric vehicles. But I am unlikely to buy one in the immediate future. I value certainty in some things; like readily accessible and extremely widespread fast recharging stations.


Because I did not cook filet mignon last night for dinner, as I had planned, I will prepare a steak and eggs breakfast this morning. It is now time to do precisely that.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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