Thursday, April 22, 2004


I was young, maybe seven or eight, and was at the shoe store with my parents. I'd already been measured by the tickly, corrugated-steel foot-sizing plate and the shoe clerk was in the back room, behind the grimy curtain, pulling boxes from the untidy stacks. He emerged, probably exuding boredom and tobacco fumes, but, to my small eyes, exuding authority. Shoe authority. He was The Shoe Man. I was in his thrall.

Saddle shoes had already, for parental reasons I can't remember, been vetoed. I tried on pair after pair of stiff, shiny, otherwise unmemorable shoes, rejecting them all, until, finally, out of the shoebox tissue, they emerged: a pair of magnificent blue shoes. It was love at first sight. They were big, solid, royal blue brogans. I put them on, walked around, peered at my feet in the low mirror as my parents looked on in horror.

"These." I said.

"Not those gunboats !" pronounced my dear father, Raul Stanati, presciently trying to rescue me from my first steps down the path of a life of fashion catastrophe.

He, of course, prevailed.

But even the most loving father can't save a hellbent daughter from disaster.

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