Friday, February 22, 2008

"Sole Searching"

By Jerry Zezima
The Stamford Advocate

When it comes to shopping, men usually get off on the wrong foot. So I recently took my wife, Sue, with me when I went shopping for sneakers.

As soon as I stepped into the store, I found myself in a dilemma, which would be a good name for a sneaker brand.

"What do you want to do in your sneakers?" asked Joe Karl, manager of the Athlete’s Foot at the Smith Haven Mall in Lake Grove, N.Y.

"Walk," I replied. "Or stroll. Maybe, if I’m feeling frisky, I’ll amble. But I don’t want to run. I can’t run. If I did, I’d drop dead and then my wife would have to pray for the repose of my soles."

Karl explained that there are, indeed, walking shoes, as well as running shoes, not to mention basketball shoes, tennis shoes and cross-trainers, but that if I got running shoes, I wouldn’t necessarily have to run in them. "You can walk in running shoes," he said. "You also can run in walking shoes, but you don’t have to."

It had been several years since I last bought a pair of sneakers, and I had mercifully forgotten about the complexity of such a purchase, so this put my mind, or what little was left of it, at ease.

I felt even better when Karl turned me over to Charles Seales, a bright, young sales associate who took one look at my grungy old leather sneakers, which really ought to be burned except that the fumes would only add to global warming, and suggested a different kind that would help my feet breathe.

"When I take these things off, you might not be able to breathe," I warned Seales.

But first, I had to choose among innumerable brands, including Jordan Retros, the most expensive shoes in the store. "How much do they cost?" I asked.

"Three hundred dollars," Seales said.

I had the same reaction I expected Seales to have when I removed my sneakers: I nearly fainted. "My entire wardrobe isn’t worth that much," I said.

Sue, who buys me all my clothes and was acting as my shopping consultant, agreed. "He really does need help," she told Seales. "That’s why he brought me along."

When I saw that Seales was wearing a pair of clean, white sneakers that were stylish but not too flashy, I asked, "What kind do you have on?"

"New Balance," he replied.

"I’m unbalanced," I said to Seales, who didn’t look surprised. "Maybe I should try on a pair."

After asking my size, he brought out two pairs of New Balance 621s, which he said are walking shoes. I prayed that the 621 didn’t stand for the price.

One pair was size 11 regular, the other was size 11 wide.

"Try a wide one on your right foot and a regular one on your left," Seales suggested.

As I put them on, I mused about my own brand of sneaker. "How about Air Zezima?" I asked Sue.

"How about Air Head?" she responded.

Anyway, the wide sneaker was too wide, but the regular one was just right. I put on both regulars, which were white and navy blue, and looked at my big feet in the mirror.

"Those sneakers are nice," my shopping consultant said. "I think you should get them."

At $59.99, they were a bargain. And because Sue bought them for me as a birthday present, I got the best deal possible.

"Have fun walking," the manager said as we were leaving.

"Thanks," I replied. "Now, when people tell me to take a hike, I can do it in style."

Copyright 2008 by Jerry Zezima


1jenbu said...

Hey there 'airhead",
Now that you are feng schui, put those puppies to the test and try climbing our MA illustrious Blue Mountains. Do not fear, you won't even be able to run, sauntering is a very noble speed.
Once again I laughed out loud Jerry, especially when your wife so swiftly shrunk you back in your place. Thanks. You are so much better than a daily joke.
So seriously, let's train in our new sneakers, since as you know I have the same experiences at the same time as you. We must be long lost twins. Anyway, let's train and do the 3 day Breast Cancer Walk together, with or without our wives. Three days can add up to a shit load of soul and sole searching. If this entices you any, my wife follows with ice cream the whole way, and would have 2 roses and a mocha cake and two wheel chairs at the end for us.

Peter said...

Hey Sole Man,

Sue should have sprung for the $300.00 Air Jordans. After all, you've been married for decades; what are three C-notes, plus tax, after all those years of wedded bliss? Not to throw a monkey wrench into all that bliss, but you have to ask yourself, "Am I not worth a measly $300.00?"

When Sue's birthday rolls around, and she's dropping hints about Manolo Blahniks, you'll have to tell her you've got it covered. Little will she know that you've already ordered her a splendid pair of Velcro-strap, genuine leather disco boots, in lime green, as advertised in the "National Enquirer."

Let me know how all this turns out.