I just had a birthday, and with it came a little bit of reflection. I had a birth defect–the opposite of “club foot”– that was corrected by nighttime braces, adaptive physical education, and “big shoes”. Had I been born in a different time, I would have been a limping, foot-dragging awkward outcast, my feet so splayed, my arches so fallen, that normal walking would have been nigh to impossible. Through the simplest of medieval devices, more than a decade of that adaptive physical education, and some truly, terribly ugly shoes, I grew into a young man with natural speed, strength and agility (mostly squandered, I’ll admit) who could cover 40 yards in 5 seconds at 230 pounds, dunk a basketball, and catch just about anything thrown to me. But man, those shoes were ugly.
Jill Sobule, pictured at right in her big, ugly, shoes wrote a song that resonates at the very deepest core of my soul. Oh, how I wanted to wear sneakers, not heavy hot leather things with stiff soles that looked stupid with sweat socks.