The Summer Complaints from Dr. Andy’s Shoes
A Decidedly Un-Platonic Dialogue
As a poet, I remain receptive to all possible voices, no matter how faint. For example, recently my shoes have been complaining to me.
Pleas of empathy usually refer to someone’s shoes (or moccassins) as a metaphor, but in this case, the shoe message struck home because I heard it at home while I was lacing up the trusty sneakers that I’ve used throughout 2022. I couldn’t tell if it was the left or the right shoe speaking, but I can share with you the gist (OK, the exact wording) of the message:
“Look, I’m just worn out! My manufacturer wisely indicated that shoes such as we should be replaced every 400-600 miles, but look what’ I’ve withstood, over 1500 miles of walking with these two sadist engines, your feet.”
That’s cutting diction something that was created to keep me comfortable. Histrionically, the shoe continued:
“Mercy, please. You should really let me die. Let me recycle as a picnic bench, an immobile playground’s apparatus slide, or the crosswise weft of AstroTurf that on certain days my mate and I, we transverse.”
I never expected my shoes to send me to the dictionary to look up words such as “weft.” Soon it was enumerating its complaints:
“Perhaps if you didn’t walk every single day, I could better suffer the torturous treads, the trudge, of these incessant footfalls? The feat of 20 thousand steps should be an occasional objective, fleet tormentor, not a daily quota.”
For the record, this year I am averaging only about 17,000 steps a day, so obviously the shoe exaggerates like a politician. By the way, you know what an aglet is, don’t you? I hope so, because this is how the shoe continued:
“My aglets long since worn away, you burn my shoelace wick on both ends, ruthlessly, unnaturally distending me, such that my fibers now overstretch like the muscles of a should-be overstaying retired athlete, a suited-up relic whose muscled have long since attenuated. As I hear you tell uninterested strangers, you may be in your prime, but I am past mine. You soullessly forsake my insoles. Disassemble me. Let my padding go.”
Did my shoe suggest that it’s time I retire my walking habit, retire my shoes, or just retire? Even my lap dog doesn’t get as exhausted as these two.
“Also, would it kill you to stay on the path? Never aspiring to be a boot, I was built
for gentle strolls on pavement, not brambly outback adventures! I suppose that even Aaron Burr never generated so many burrs as our obsessive jaunts do, little buds of prickle that attach themselves to me like so many viruses. No tongue has ever been so parched.”
The tongue of these shoes evidently make puns about Vice-Presidents who shoot notable citizens (and I don’t mean Dick Cheney, who is back in the news this week).
“Furthermore, note that because of you I am now tailed by foxtails, chlorophyl fish hooks that make their bed embedded in me, somehow piercing my polyurethane polymer fabric meshed cover, my pincushioned safeguards, all the way down to the rubber.”
Shamed by my own shoes, I’m now just feeling guilty, but at least I’ve found a new way to hit my newsletter word quota. Like Plato when he channels Socrates, and Davis Enterprise daily columnist Bob Dunning when responding to letters from readers, I’m using conversations with others to expand on my own thinking (and to pad a few column inches).
Speaking of Plato’s preferred philosophy delivery medium, Truman Capote once said, “A conversation is a dialogue, not a monologue. That's why there are so few good conversations: due to scarcity, two intelligent talkers seldom meet.” Of course, despite its vocabulary, I don’t think we can accuse my shoes of being “intelligent talkers.” OK, let’s turn to my shoes once again to finish this up.
“If I were a clam, the irritable grit you bid join us on our often thrice-daily sashays would yield enough needle-pierced pearls for a fey flapper’s necklace.”
My shoes know about fey flappers? Thankfully, these pearls of wisdom are about to come to an end.
“Please, sir, you must surcease, desist. Stand still a while, and stand down. You ask too much from both of us.”
Thanks, shoes. As the aforementioned politicians say, I will take all of this under advisement. Now let’s go for a walk.
This week’s Pub Quiz will feature no shoe questions. Instead, expect questions on non-shoe topics raised above, and on the following: reasons for relaxation, entry-level gadgets, condemned provocations, California cities, playful openings, unknown (to me) Canadians, campaign stops, dress colors, spaceflights, Yiddish surprises for censors, Oscar-winners, seedless grapes, detective novels, white stripes, World War I, five-pointed stars, chicken in church, hilarious mesomorphs, British rock bands, Olympic games, the purposes of thermoses, baseball teams, notable universities, law enforcement agencies, mountain ranges, Freud’s thoughts on the Irish, people named Henry, art museums, current events, and Shakespeare.
Thanks to all the supporters on Patreon who make all this happen, especially the Outside Agitators, the Original Vincibles, and Quizimodo. I’m always grateful to players who pledge for their entire team. Please subscribe so you can share the fun of the Pub Quiz with your friends and neighbors!
Be well, and support your local independent shoe store, as I do!
Sadly, this week’s newsletter was not sponsored by Fleet Feet of Davis, but it should have been! Thanks for reading.
P.S. Here are three questions from last week’s Pub Quiz:
1. Polynesian Countries whose names sound like the first names of famous San Francisco poets. Starting with the letter T, what Polynesian country is also an archipelago consisting of 169 islands, of which 36 are inhabited?
2. Pop Culture – Music. Born in 1995, what British singer/songwriter had huge hits with songs titled “Don’t Start Now” and “Levitating”?
3. Sports. What NFL football team won Superbowl LVI in its home stadium?
P.P.S. Rest in Peace, Marilyn Monroe, this week sixty years gone. She said, “Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world.”
P.P.P.S. If you would like to read my brother Oliver’s film reviews, please start clicking all the links at his Observer bio. He didn’t care for the new Brad Pitt film.
Worried my shoes think I’ve been stonewalling all these years. Maybe talk therapy, maybe just new insoles will help.
That's a clever soft-shoe routine... Ha.