They walk among us. On the streets, in our schools, under our desks. They are slippery shoes, and they cannot be trusted.
Twice this week my dress shoes have tried to kill me. Unprovoked. It’s not like I was purposely scuffing them up or taunting them: “Hey, stupid shoes, think you can stay tied for more than an hour today? Or maybe I should invest in Velcro. No wait: loafers. Ahh, go back in the box you came from.”
I wasn’t prying them off my feet by pressing down on the heel of one shoe with the toe of the other. I never do that. I hate to pry. I believe this strongly; I have pryer convictions.
No, I am always respectful of my dress shoes, no matter what their colour. I treat them just like any other footwear. What two brogues get up to in the closet is none of my business. But when they’re out in public, I expect them to put one foot in front of the other, you know what I mean? I’m not shoe-ist or anything. I just think shoes should know their place, namely on my feet.
So there I was, walking from one office building to another. Fine, I was rushing. If you want a precise description, I was “prancing,” but it’s not my masculinity that’s on trial here!
As I turned and stepped onto the snow, one of my shoes, without warning, simply slid out from under me. I may have let out a high-pitched squeal, but again that’s not the issue here.
Luckily, I caught myself, but imagine what might have happened if I hadn’t. I might have hit my head. I might have suffered brain damage and ended up spending my days writing inane commentary of no significance or, worse, running for public office. I might have broken my leg. I might have gotten my bum wet.
The same thing happened a few days later, only this time I was walking down the steps. Okay, “skipping.” There, I said it. Happy?
My point is that dress shoes are dangerous and unpredictable. You can never truly know what’s going on in a shoe’s sole. “Talk to me, shoe,” you’ll beg. “What’s the matter, cat got your tongue? No? The new puppy then?”
And yet, in a situation laced with irony, there are no instruction manuals for these inscrutable shoes explaining how they behave in relation to gravity and human kinetics. No one even explains what “human kinetics” is, and I sure wish someone would because that sounds like a made-up thing to me.
Where are the warnings on my wingtips? Shouldn’t manufacturers be obliged to caution consumers that their soles were not designed to grip on ice, snow, satin sheets, bowling alley lanes, etc.? Can I drink hot beverages out of my shoes? Who knows? It doesn’t say.
“Why not change into your boots before you go outside?” you suggest. Oh sure, blame the victim. Like I was asking for it. Like I purposely oiled the soles of my shoes so I could claim workman’s compensation and sit at home writing my novel (working title: Gabardine, My Gabardine!)Besides, I don’t have time to change footwear. I am a busy prancing man!
And it’s not just men’s dress shoes. Last fall, Self magazine ran an article entitled “Flip Flops May Cause a Staggering Amount of Car Accidents.” That’s right: wearing sandals while driving may possibly be linked to accidents. Not just accidents but a staggering amount of accidents. Or they may not. The evidence is fairly anecdotal. But that’s not the point! You know what does have a point? High heels. Dangerous, sharply taloned high heels with no standardized regulations for highness or heeliness.
Why are these potentially dangerous shoes allowed to run roughshod over public safety? When is our government finally going to support registering shoes on a national shoe tree? How much longer are we going to stand idly by, tapping our feet, while the powerful shoe lobby plays footsie with politicians? Where will this shoe sham lead us? And who tracked dirt into the house, because your mother is going to be pissed.
It’s time to put our foot down and take steps to ensure that these high-risk shoes no longer walk all over us. Please stand up with me (carefully) and shout to the world, “My shoes stink!”