Friday, 23 December 2005

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California is Like Sambas, D.C. Like a Pain All this talk of slippers reminds me of the importance of shoes. If Texas is slippers then California is a pair of classic black Adidas Samba . Adi Dassler first produced running and football (a.k.a. "soccer") shoes in 1925. They proved popular. Jesse Owens wore ancestral Sambas when he dominated Berlin's "Hitler Olympics" in 1936. Dassler first produced Sambas by name in 1950. The origin of that name is unclear. Did the German want his soccer shoe to appeal to legion South American soccer fans? Did he somehow anticipate the emergence of the then 10 year old Pelé into wordwide celebrity? Did he think a dance equal part imported African rhythms and native Brazilian beats a perfect inspiration for a footballer's fleet feet? The Internet refuses to reveal Dassler's reasoning. The point is that Jesse Owens laughed at Hitler in these shoes, Pelé tied legs in knots in them and I wear them everyday no matter what. I wear suit and Sambas. Pinstripes and Sambas. Tuxedo and Sambas. They bring a little class to jeans and a little déclassé to formal wear . . . just like I bring a little class to a crawfish boil and a little déclassé to Cotillion. What can be more déclassé than a samba at Cotillion? A pair of them. (ducks) As I prepare to attend the MLA by reading an enthusiastic but idiotic number of essays by scholars whose panels I will attend I must come to terms with the brute fact that Sambas may not fly at the MLA. I decided to buy some dress shoes. I purchased identical "Black Smooth" and "Cognac Smooth" Nunn Bush "Fielding" oxfords on clearance. I am breaking them in by having them gnaw though my ankles and saw through my Achilles tendon chafe by painful chafe. Blood is everywhere. Some guy in New Jersey screams about the humanity. As I crumble to the floor in flames little people jump from my cabins to their deaths. Others slip on the blood slick floor and are either engulfed by my hydrogen-enhanced conflagration or crushed to death beneath my white-hot hulk. Like I said: If Texas is slippers and California is Sambas then Washington D.C. is heels and ankles rubbed raw and badly bandaged while sporting patent leather oxfords only a masochist could love.

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