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Editor's Column: If the old shoes are good enough, then wear them
Even if the shoe fits, the question remains, when do you wear it? Or them, of you’re a biped.
There’s a new pair of shoes sitting in my closet awaiting their turn to be worn, but I’m not yet persuaded that my old ones are worn out enough to deserve to be thrown away. They might be good for one more rainy season, which is what I’ve been saying for the past several rainy seasons. There aren’t any obvious holes in the soles and although worn badly, they’re not worn through. The leather uppers are dull but it’s nothing a bout with Kiwi wouldn’t cure. I remain undecided.
Purchasing a new pair of shoes should be a rare thing, at the minimum once every five years. I’ve got some brown wingtips that are 40 years old and as shiny as the day they walked off the shelves at Chester Beard in downtown Everett. Chester is long gone, but at least one of his pair of shoes is still in working order should the need unexpectedly arise for brown wingtips.
When I came to the Whidbey News-Times nine years ago I went crazy at Big 5 and purchased two pair of shoes. I wanted to make a good impression on my new boss, they were on sale and they were my favorite brand, which I won’t name because I don’t want to give the manufacturer a free plug. But here’s a hint: Take one word from each of the following two-word phrases and combine them, and you’ll know the brand: Big Rock and Port Wine. Right, I was purchasing Big Wine shoes.
I was, however, disappointed. The black pair was bulkier than I thought, a modern rendition of clodhoppers. I decided I couldn’t keep them so I wore them every day for the minimum five years, after which I tossed them out. They still had some tread on them, but “clodhopper” was not the fashion statement I wanted to make in Whidbey Island’s largest city.
The brown shoes were better but not fit for all situations, particularly rain or when I was wearing my Johnny Cash black shirt. I’ve worn them occasionally for nine years, but I had to buy another pair of black Big Wines, which is the pair I’m thinking of retiring now.
Another option is to have my old black shoes resoled, but that’s unlikely. I still remember the cruel joke my mom would play on us, when she’d say, “I got you new shoes,” and pulled out our old shoes with new soles. It was like getting a new car only to discover that your 2010 Taurus is a 1995 Taurus in back. Due to the new-sole trauma in my childhood, I don’t like combining the new and the old in anything.
My newest pair of Big Wines, purchased on sale thanks to the Depression, has been sitting in the closet for several months, waiting to replace my old pair, footwear version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. All my old shoes have to do is go to sleep and presto, they’ll be gone. As a result they’re awake all night, which makes it hard for me to walk in the morning.
But the simple fact is that I haven’t had the black Big Wines I’m wearing for quite five years and replacing them now would violate my five-year shoe philosophy. I think the old pair has one more rainy season left in them. According to the weather man, I’ll find out this week.