Recently, while my wife and I were visiting her mother at the assisted living facility she recently moved to, she informed us why it was so important for everyone there to get along with each other. In her words, “… because we all live in the same shoe.” Now this was either one of those funny things we hear uttered by people a little long in the tooth or a very profound observation made by someone who is close to 90.
My wife and I have laughed several times over her mom’s remark. We find it particularly funny because every time we visit her, she reminds us she needs new shoes. The ones she always wears look great and have little wear so I am tempted to ask her if she actually needs new shoes or if she wants to move to another place. So far, I have resisted primarily because I have replaced my wife at the top of the list of her mom’s family rankings and I do not want to lose that spot.
I am not so sure I like the idea of all of us living in the same shoe. For starters, I notice a lot of people do not wear socks so this is a good way to pick up an unwanted fungus. Mostly, I just prefer my own space. In fact, just last week, I purchased a new pair of running shoes that I really like because they have a wider toe box which makes my ten little Indians more comfortable when I run.
Assuming for a moment my mother in-law was making a metaphor, or was it an analogy, and by living in the same shoe she was referring to sharing the planet, I am not so sure I like that thought. If our planet is one shoe, then there are plenty of plantar warts, toe jam, and dirty toe nails making life miserable for far too many.
Maybe we would be wise to find another shoe, one that is not worn to death, held together with broken laces, and in need of a larger size now that too much is crammed inside it. At the very least, perhaps we would be wise to just find the other half that goes with the one we are stuck in so we might stop limping around or stubbing our toes.
Native Americans were known to advise people not to judge others until you have walked a mile in their moccasins. Women say the same thing to men about their high heels, but they are also known to buy them knowing they will hurt their feet just because they match their dress. I’ll take a worn pair of moccasins any day over an uncomfortable pair of high heels.
In fact, in college, back in 1980, I used to wear a cheap pair of moccasins all the time. Eventually, I added an old pair of insoles from some worn out running shoes and covered the holes in the bottoms with Shoe Goo. Then it dawned on me, I needed a new pair. I have no idea the relevance of that story other than it has to do with foot wear and me having learned at least one thing while in college.
Perhaps we all do live in the same shoe. Even if we do, it is important to remember now and then we need to run barefoot through the park so we can feel what it is like to step on a sharp rock. There’s something to be said about the feel of the cold surf and wet sand between our toes just as we get stung by a jellyfish. And there is nothing like the pure pleasure of someone giving you a foot massage unless that person is a stranger who does it without asking while you are waiting for your take out order (I swear, I will never make that mistake again).
At any rate, I have now reached a point where I have no idea how to end this other than I hope you found this to be a shoemendous article.
Jim is a life long resident of California and retired school teacher with 30 years in public education. Jim earned his BA in History from CSU Chico in 1981 and his MA in Education from Azusa Pacific University in 1994. He is also the author of Teaching The Teacher: Lessons Learned From Teaching. Jim considers himself an equal opportunity pain in the ass to any political party, group, or individual who looks to profit off of hypocrisy. When he is not pointing out the conflicting words and actions of our leaders, the NFL commissioner, or humans in general, he can be found riding his bike for hours on end while pondering his next article. Jim recently moved to Camarillo, CA after being convinced to join the witness protection program.