An ode to shoes – part one.

A couple of weeks ago, I posted a little ditty about Crocs, the sandal loved by every Metrosexual and hippie (young or old) in the country. When I was finished telling my story, I had enough content to get a good start on a column for my newspaper readers. So I did. Even though I didn’t find it all that interesting; If you’re interested and have a lot of time on your hands, you can find the original post and compare it to the newsprint result which follows:

    Plastic Shoes

Several years back, not too long after the turn of the century, my son, Joe, moved from North Carolina to Seattle, Washington. On our first visit to see him, I was a bit taken aback by the cultural differences which were much more liberal than what could be found in our conservative State of Indiana. Being of an open-minded nature, I made my peace with the diversity represented in everything from politics to what people ate for dinner.
A few months later, a package arrived from Seattle, a Father’s Day gift. Inside the box were a pair of plastic shoes, at least I thought they were plastic. I was immediately suspect because of an incident that had occurred on a trip to a baseball game in Chicago. I was in my early twenties, a naïve bumpkin from Loogootee, Indiana and I bought a pair of really shiny shoes from the trunk of a gentleman’s car that was parked behind a tavern near Wrigley Field. I hesitated before forking over the cash,- I considered myself pretty worldly but in actuality I still had a bump on my head suffered when I fell off the turnip truck – but I couldn’t resist the chance to buy a product made from a new, exclusive plastic composite, something that would make me the envy of everyone in town.
The next weekend, even though it was raining, I got dressed up and prepared to go to town where I knew, actually I was sure, that I would find girls who would be impressed with my new shoes. However, the rain immediately removed some of the shine and by the time I walked into the Arrow Café, the shoes had begun to melt into puddles around my feet. I left the restaurant, climbed back up in the turnip filled truck bed and went home; despondent but much the wiser.
I recalled that embarrassing moment as I examined the shoes that Joe had sent me. In a phone call, he told me that these shoes were not plastic but instead were made from some new, space age and environmentally friendly material and even though the shoes were riddled with holes, they still were all the rage in Seattle amongst the trendy set. The shoes were called ‘Crocs’. – A caveat: I am not endorsing these shoes and have not received any remuneration. Unlike other famous celebrities, I make it a practice never to endorse a commercial product. However, if I had seen a bit of cash, well, who knows?
I had never heard of these shoes but I wore them around the house and out in my garden because they were comfortable and perfect for digging into the soil; I could just spray off the shoes and the little circles of dirt that had formed on my feet. Still, I never wore them out into public , considering the shoes to be a symbol of west coast liberalism and well, even somewhat smacking of a Unisex nature. Secretly, I admired some of those leftist practices, but I am still a middle of the roader and didn’t want my neighbors getting the wrong idea about me. I figured that if I showed up in town wearing those things, it wouldn’t be long before the authorities would be sniffing around for marijuana plants in my sweet corn.
Then a problem arose when Susie and I were moving our picnic table; I discovered it was impossible for me to walk backwards in my Crocs for more than five feet without my feet coming out of the shoes. I wasn’t sure if the problem was the shoes or some defect in my coordination skills but after several tries at correcting the problem, I gave up trying to figure it out. From that time on, when I was wearing the things, I never put myself in a position where I had to back up.
I have spent the last 9 or 10 years learning to only walk forward when wearing my crocs and have adapted fairly well, branching out to wear the shoes in public, but only to get to campground restrooms. The shoes are perfect for the showers.
Then this spring, footwear wise, disaster struck . During our annual transition from Florida to Indiana, one of the Crocs disappeared. I’m pretty sure I left it in an Alabama campground restroom while hurrying through my shower. I stopped at the next small town to buy a new pair but was able to find only cheap, Chinese made knockoffs. Being a discriminating shopper, – I’m not that country bumpkin anymore -, I decided to wait until we got home to buy the real thing. It was a sacrifice because as we made our way north, I had to take my showers standing on one foot.
This week, I bought a new pair of Crocs, briefly looking at the model with the strap that goes behind the heel, figuring that would solve the backwards problem. However, to me, the strap gave the shoes a feminine flavor, certainly not the look for a manly man such as myself.
I’ll be wearing them in my garden soon- don’t look for me at Walmart in these shoes – and I am hoping that though some miracle I will be able to walk backwards if the need arises.
You would be amazed at how often one is called upon to do just that.

You know, I am still ticked off about those damn shoes I bought in Chicago. They were snazzy as all get out and I have no idea what they made of, newspapers maybe or sawdust held together with water based gluue. Whatever it was, people laughed when they started to melt around my feet, traumatizing me for life. I’ve hated the Cubbies ever since.

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About geetwo

I am a 69 year old (in 2009) retired I.T. consultant. My wife, Susie and I travel in an RV 6 to 8 months a year. I write a humor / travel column for several print publications on a weekly basis.
This entry was posted in back home in Indiana, curmudgeon, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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