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Friday, January 06, 2006


I Must Break You

Every once in awhile, life provides us with an opponent. We're living our life, tum-te-tum, and all of a sudden, out of the ether, we're handed an antagonist. Sometimes, we have unknowingly brought this antagonist into our own lives, even.

Such is the case with what I am currently going through.

A number of weeks ago, I got a check that was a little larger than usual, due to the fact that the city of New York had decided to go ahead and increase teacher salaries from what they were during the Nixon administration. They're big-hearted guys, the Bloomberg folks.

Anyway, I took a look at my paycheck and took a look at the snow on the ground and took a look at the fact that my shitty Payless boots were a strong breeze away from basically crumbling off of my feet. I decided I should get me some decent winter footwear. I had an appointment for a haircut, so I ducked into a shoe store a block or so away from the sylist and took a look at the selection.

I should say here--as I think I've probably noted before--I'm not big on shopping. I don't browse. I tend to home in on what I want, make a bee-line for it and get the fuck out of there. That's how I roll.

So I looked at the boots they had. They had a sale on Timberlands. If you don't live in a large city, you might think that Timberlands are for hikers or lumberjacks. Not so. Timberlands--or "Tims"--are very popular with the kids these days. Pubescent feet that have never come within a mile of a pine needle or a mound of deer crap are routinely clad in these clunky beige motherfuckers. If I were to walk into class with Timberlands on my feet, it would be sort of akin to showing up in an Adidas running suit with a diamond stud in my tooth.

So I looked on another rack. I found some North Face boots that looked appropriately warm. The sales guy said they were water-proof, which is nice, 'cause I have an intense hatred for walking around in wet socks. I tried on a pair of eleven-and-a-halfs and they were just a little tight. So I had the fella bring out some twelves, which were a little too big. I tried the first pair on again and thought that they felt like the more comfortable of the two. The sales guy told me that I should opt for the tight pair, as they'd loosen up over time. I took his advice and bought them.

I should note here that, growing up, my father was of the mind that spending a shitload of money on shoes is not a good idea. They just wear out in the end, he figured, so why toss away all that money. I'm not saying my father was in any way cheap, he just wasn't a big fan of fashion footwear. Consequently, I've always had similar feelings and have done the majority of my shoe shopping at Payless and their ilk. This time, though, I wanted boots that were going to last. Boots that would not, like the pair I was sporting, crack apart and allow water to pour in upon my tootsies. So this time I forked over eighty-plus dollars for these North Face boots. I put them on outside the store and dumped my old boots in the trash.

As this was the Christmas season, I had to do a lot of walking. Much of it in my new boots. I discovered that walking in them didn't feel...good. It was, in point of fact, painful. Excruciating, one might say. The top of my right boot rubbed away a good amount of skin above my ankle. After a day walking around my school, the tops of my feet felt like someone had had at them with a meat hammer.

Then the transit strike happened. In complete desperation to get my shopping done before we left town, I took a Metro North train (not affected by the strike) down to Grand Central Terminal and walked all the way back up to Harlem, stopping along the way to make my purchases. By the time I got home, it felt like I was walking not on feet, but on giant exposed nerves. When we left town, I decided not to shlep the torture shoes along.

After we got back, I had to weigh my options. My wife was not thrilled that I'd dumped that much moolah on the shoes in the first place. If I threw in the towel now, the argument was lost. Lost, dammit. So I strapped those mothers back on my feet and I held in there. I felt like a rodeo rider, but walking instead of being thrown from a horse. I wore them for a week, ending every day in what some might term agony.

Then, yesterday, as I walked from my seventh period class to my eight period class, I noticed a slight lack of pain. My feet didn't feel as though they were about to detach themselves from my body in protest. The shoes felt a little looser. A little better.

So I just wanted to take a moment to say In Your Face, Shoes! I wore you despite incredible pain, so go fuck yourselves! You think you're all high and mighty because you make someone's toes bleed. Well I'm still wearing you, so what do you think of that, m'man? Ha ha! Ha fucking ha! Who's wearing who now, bitch?

I'm now wondering if I should drag my new shoes out of the back of the closet- where I put them after one day of tortured walking.
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