The other day when I got out of the car going into Barnes & Noble’s I was appalled to see that I was wearing a slipper on one foot and a shoe on the other. I immediately thought of the All in the Family episode in which Archie Bunker told the story of how he was so poor as a child that he had to wear one old boot and one worn shoe to school. All the other kids teased him– calling him Shoebooty. There I was– Slipshoey.
For me just thinking about something has become the equivalent of doing it. When I think about something I plan to do, it seems as if I already did it and my thoughts get stored like a real memory.
Evidently I was distracted while changing shoes. I was only glad that none of our children were around to witness this, since it would have been conclusive proof that I had completely lost my mind, as they have long suspected. Wearing one slipper in public would be the final nail in the coffin of my credibility.
When they were little they would ask me all sorts of questions and considered me the fount of all knowledge and wisdom. Now they regard me as completely clueless and ignore any of my advice, while completely subscribing to any claptrap they find on the internet or hear from one of their peers. Even when they think I might actually know something, they say, “Just leave your expertise at the door.” I know this arrogance of youth helps them establish an independent identity, but they still seem a little too eager to abandon me on some ice floe.
When I noticed the two different shoes, I considered staying in the car, but I really wanted to look at books, so I told my wife, Diane that I was going to pretend that I had a sprained ankle. I limped around Barnes & Nobles, taking pains to never look at my shoes and occasionally giving a subtle grimace. I am fairly proficient at limping. I learned to do this convincingly at high school football practice, just in case our coach was in one of his frequent foul moods and was looking for someone to take a an extra lap.
Having one dark brown slipper and one light brown shoe was like wearing two different colored socks. When comedian Steven Wright was asked why his socks didn’t match, he said they did, because he went by thickness instead of color.
Such faux pas are pretty common for me. Like the time in high school I discovered the macho green beret I was wearing came from my sister’s old Girl Scout uniform or a few years ago when I went to an important meeting wearing my sweater inside out. I may not be Einstein, but I do occasionally dress like him.
Regarding embarrassing shoe mishaps, back in the days when we were young and poor, we attended a church where you had to kneel at the altar railing during communion. In this position the rest of the congregation could get a good gander at the bottom of your shoes. It seemed like this would always happen on the Sundays when I was wearing my only pair of dress shoes— ones that had a noticeable hole. Evidently all was not well with my sole. I would be anxious during the whole service and tried, without success, to edge out a couple of old ladies, so I could get to the side railing to decrease my potential audience.
I suppose I do need to pay more attention to things. Just the other day I lost my wallet, again. This usually happens just as we are about to go out the door. Then I wish I was able to call my wallet, like I do my cell phone, when I misplace it. After the usual five minute of hysteria, I finally found it– in the washing machine. Our kitchen table is still cluttered with ID cards, dollar bills, scraps of paper, and unreadable debit card receipts that are drying out.
Diane (Miss Perfect) is always warning me to check my pockets. I graciously do not mention the numerous occasions she has left her purse somewhere, or the time it was mailed back to us in a bright red and white three-piece box, from a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant inSpringfield,Illinois. Everything was intact. Miss Perfect certainly lives a charmed existence at times.
I’ve been thinking about the Barnes and Noble fiasco and maybe I should just give up and wear some of those bright yellow Crocks® all the time.