If the shoe fits ... the other one likely won't
“What do you need me for?” she asked. “They’re your feet.”
I lowered my head (and with it, my eyes) and determined that she had hit the toenail square on the foot, as it were.
They are, after all, my feet. ... So, why was I asking her to venture forth at my side in this never-ending, never-successful treasure hunt for a proper pair of new shoes?
“Because ...” I riposted, although — between you, me and the lamppost — it wasn’t so much a riposte as it was a feeble parry.
She gave me the look ... you know, The Look ... and I figured the time had come to disengage, slip into my plastron and forage futilely for footwear.
Alone again, naturally.
Pelinore had better luck tracking the Questing Beast than I have had in my wayward adventures. I tend to choose ... poorly.
It’s the “new” part that trips me up. I would prefer to purchase “once and future” shoes — or, rather, styles that have served so well but are failing apart about the leg-ending appendages which must have been floating in the shallow end of the gene pool when assigned to me.
You want a high arch? I got that. How about a nice, wide flat sole? Have one of them as well.
Meanwhile, somewhere between the little piggy who had roast beef and the one who had none, there’s something called a Morton neuroma adding salt to my wounds.
Still, shoes I must wear, if for no other reason than I have enough trouble finding a passable pair of socks that don’t wear thin without subjecting them to office flooring and parking lot asphalt.
Oh, dear Lord, he’s going to tell us about his sock issues now.
No, of course not. I already covered that ground on
Jan. 5, 2014 — during which (in case you don’t remember) we kicked back with Ben Casey, D. Turner Swicegood and the Hadza people of Tanzania.
Go ahead, look it up. We’ll wait.
(While they’re gone, have you ever noticed that a pair of shoelaces can be equal in length, until you run them through the eyelets of your shoes? Oh wait ... shoelaces — and Nicholson Baker’s dissection of tying same — was March 3, 2019 ... and, besides, here they come.)
In your absence, I have come to the startling conclusion that these times that try my soles are not caused by shoes (or socks), but something far more insidious.
More precisely, that my pant-legs hit the ground socially distant from one another ... likely due to my left being shorter than my right — which, come to think of it, might have something to do with this Morton neurosis I’m suffering through.
There’s too much pant wasted at the bottom and not enough at the top ... itself a vast waistland held together by one of my two belts — one more than I would need if the Big Belt monopoly mysteriously hadn’t stopped producing odd-numbered waistbands after a particular size.
Carl Jung, Sophie Tucker and Walter B. Pitkin might want to convince us that life begins at 40 ... but they clearly had no influence on belt-makers.
Go ahead, look it up.
The less said about undergarments, the better, except to weigh in on the eternal debate as to whether socks should be rolled into the same category as boxers (or briefs) and undershirts.
I think not, for a sock can be partially exposed without embarrassment whereas ... hypothetically, mind you ... a person wearing the incorrect belt might need to adjust his pant-height slightly to avoid a slight flash of briefs (or boxers).
Or, so I’m told.
Of course, such a scenario ... hypothetical as it may be ... could be solved by the simple wearing of shirts made to be untucked. (Oh wait, I’ll look it up ... Dec. 17, 2017. Never mind.)
As my middle age spread creeps without cessation through my senior years, the tucking in of shirts is but a faint memory of a happier time and place — one where even-sized belts, stingy waistbands and a galumphing gait adjusted for mismatched legs were obstacles for others to overcome.
This questing beast, however, was still in need of once and future shoes as he headed into the cold, cruel world ... only to return empty-handed yet again.
The moral of this tale of woe is pretty simple: Always have a better answer at your disposal than “Because ...”
Because that won’t work.
Because she’s been through far too many of these failed quests.
And because, after all, they are my feet.
Mail Tribune news editor Robert Galvin shops in the Plump & Gangly Department at firstname.lastname@example.org