Carroll Is A Guy's Name Too by John Bolton
Everybody has some weird shit happen to them, but I've had more than my fair share, starting out the day I was born and my folks named me Carroll. Carroll is a guy's name too.
I live in a piss-ant little town. We got cheap housing, low taxes and one store, the Kwik Stop. I was in there one night paying for gas and this guy
with a shaved head walks in wearing a green tee-shirt that said, 'Carol Is
A Guy's Name Too.'
I mean to tell you, I was happy and surprised as shit to see that. Another
guy named Carroll - even if he spelled it different. But then it hit me, maybe the guys at the county barn were playing some BS joke on me. That made me a little leery, but I went up and said my name was Carroll with two 2 Rs and 2Ls. And that I really liked that shirt.
Carol looked surprised, but got over it fast and came back with, "My folks were kinda poor. They could only afford one L and one R."
Like they say in the movies, it was the start of a beautiful friendship. And the start of a great hobby too. Carol introduced me to making and playing cigar box guitars. I just wish it could have gone on longer. Six months later, Carol was dead and gone. Cancer. That was the reason for the shaved head.
Carol had bought the old Thompson place before the cancer came back. Bought it cheap as heck because a lot of potential buyers were put off by the fact that Charles Thompson hung himself in the wood shop. Carol came out from Omaha looking for cheap small town living and a place to build cigar box guitars and amps.
I had just retired from working for the county and was kind of looking for
a hobby. One that didn't cost a lot. I did a little wood working and fished a little, but that was pretty much it.
Quick as heck, Carol had me making pretty cool sounds on a cigar box guitar. I loved it. I never played a musical instrument in my life. At first I thought maybe I found my talent, but it's more like CBGs are just easy to play. Carol got me playing, singing and building CBGs. Man, it's like the best hobby there could be. I like to build shit, I like music and I like to sing. What's better than putting all that together?
Carol had a wicked good laugh and a great sense of humor. Just a good, kind, fun and funny person. One example was the tee shirts. Besides the Carol shirt there was a 'The Dude Abides' and one in Latin that said, 'I came. I saw. I want to go home.' And a bunch more funny ones.
Carol was pissed off and secretive about the cancer, but it was easy to see it was getting worse. One day I went to Carol's and there was nobody home. Same thing the next couple days. I started calling Omaha hospitals. I lucked out on the third call. The Nebraska Medical Center. I headed on down there and walked into the room carrying a bouquet made out of Snickers candy bars. Carol grinned and said, “Hey, buddy!”
Before we could say much more, one of Carol's daughters came in. I recognized her from a picture in Carol's shop. The daughter went over and kissed Carol on the forehead and said, “Hi, mom. I love you babe.”
Carol looked at me and said. “Ha! The jig is finally up.”
Well, shit. I guess the joke was on me. But there really wasn’t any joke intended. Carol apologized for not telling me sooner. She'd had her breasts removed with the cancer. And she had that low voice and laugh. She didn't realize I thought she was a guy until the second time we got together. By then, she just wanted to keep things simple and not take a chance on screwing up our friendship.
I made a friend. I lost a friend. I gained a hobby.
Sad story but some funny stuff too. I'm still the only guy I know named Carroll. And that kind of sucks... Because Carroll is a guy's name too.