By Jerry Zezima
Hearst Connecticut Media Group
As a man who likes to put one foot in front of the other, which works pretty well until I walk headlong into a wall, I have always valued comfort over style when it comes to what I wear on my tremendously ticklish tootsies.
That’s why it was a big (size 11) deal when I went shopping for slippers.
Slippers are the preferred footwear for retirees like myself who don’t have to don dress shoes for work or sneakers for playing sports at which I was always terrible and that would induce cardiac arrest if I played them now. These items cost an arm and a leg, which isn’t too practical since I’d need the former to pay for them and the latter to wear them.
But slippers are cheap and cozy for lying around the house or padding to the refrigerator for beer. They can even be worn to throw out the garbage or pick up take-out pizza.
“You need a new pair,” said my wife, Sue, pointing out that my slippers not only had gaping holes in the toes but smelled bad enough to asphyxiate a camel.
So we drove to a store that specializes in biped impedimenta.
“I’m looking for slippers,” I told a sales associate named Doris.
“They’re right next to you,” she said pleasantly, indicating a shelf full of them.
I pulled out a box of slippers in my size and asked if I could try them on.
“Of course,” Doris said.
“On my bare feet?” I wondered.
“We have little stockings you can wear,” said Doris.
“Maybe they’ll bring out my feminine side,” I said.
“We also have high heels,” Doris informed me.
“They’d be dangerous after a couple of beers,” I noted.
I sat on a bench, took off my socks and yanked on the little stockings, but I couldn’t cram my right foot into the corresponding slipper.
“The size must be wrong,” I grumbled.
Sue sighed and said, “Take the paper ball out of the front.”
“Sorry,” I said sheepishly. “I don’t go shopping too often.”
“Now you know why I go by myself,” said Sue, who noticed that the slippers, which fit fine, were different colors.
“One’s light and one’s dark,” Doris agreed. “Try another pair and see if they match.”
I grabbed a box containing only one slipper.
“It’s for my left foot,” I said. “I have two left feet, which is why I’m not on ‘Dancing With the Stars.’ ”
Doris handed me another box, which contained two slippers, and said, “Try these.”
I slipped them on and said, “They fit like gloves.”
“Please,” Sue begged, anticipating my next comment, “don’t say anything else.”
Instead, I extolled the virtue of slippers for the geezer set and said I sometimes run errands in them.
“Why not?” Doris said. “Nobody looks at your feet anyway.”
“Even my wife doesn’t like to look at my feet,” I said.
Sue politely did not disagree.
When I told Doris I’m retired, she said, “I retired from my job in social services eight years ago. This,” she added, referring to her part-time gig at the store, “is my casino money.”
Doris said she’s 69 and has “three children, five grandchildren and, I think, four great-grandchildren.”
“Is your husband retired?” I asked.
“No, I got myself a young dude,” said Doris, who is 20 years older.
“When he gets to be my age,” I said, noting that I’m 66, “he’ll come to appreciate slippers.”
I chose the last pair I tried on and thanked Doris for her help.
“Now I can throw out my smelly old ones,” I told her. “And when I get take-out pizza, I’ll go in style.”
Copyright 2020 by Jerry Zezima