An Ode to Old Shoes
I bought you at an Off 5th in Nashville during the late summer of 2008, just a few days after buying your twins on zappos.com, but you were cheaper and could readily be placed on my feet, so I sent your twins back when they arrived a few days later. I finally had summer shoes that weren't flip flops or those stupid-looking mandals the guys in jean shorts were wearing. You said "Braves games" to me. "Neighborhood grillouts." And "casual Friday." I knew we were in for some good times.
I took you to Chicago the following summer for some conference filled with women. I dragged you onto a stage to dance to Tone Loc. I think we were a hit.
Several months later, I was waiting on the elevator like I do every morning. My hands were full of briefcase, extra redwell, water bottle, and lunch. The elevator door opened, and I stood fast, so that the guy who'd gotten there first could enter first. He paused, pointed at you, and said, "After you. I gotta defer to the Jack Purcells." You beamed.
Spring 2011, you were with me in New Orleans for another conference filled with women. A friend named Britt introduced me to a lady named Karen who takes lots of pictures and writes books. She complimented your contribution to my "look." You delighted in it.
By Spring 2012, you were looking a bit ragged, but I took you to a Jimmy Buffet concert with a friend I've had since 1985. As I was returning with yet another handfull of beers, someone stopped me on the lawn.
Him: "Hey, what color were those when you first got 'em?"
Me: "Greenish...I think...it's hard to remember right now!"
Him: "Those are cool as shit, dude. Keep wearing 'em. Keep wearin' 'em forever!"
But then, this happened:
And it became apparent to me that your time had come. Four wonderful years had passed, and you no longer protected my toes from puddles. With every step, your bottom pulled away from your body and dragged the floor after each rising step. I thanked you for your loyal service and then ceremoniously lowered you into your final resting place.
But I never forgot your sacrifice. And when the time came to seek a replacement, I kept it real, and I kept it Jack Purcell.
Rest in peace, greenish Converse shoes. May you be ground into a bouncy surface beneath the jungle gym at an urban playground or something.