Liked “The Hat”? Welcome to another non-fiction story told in a fictitious way about the dastardly consequences shoe-polygamy can have on your health. The story continues…
“The Shoe- In: Revenge of the Moccasins”
The shoes are out to get me. And not just a select pair of shoes, mind you, I mean a universal inclusion of all shoes. Boots, flats, mules, slides, sneakers, d’orsay pumps, and even, yes, the most fragile connection to the category of shoes: bridal beach wedding footwear. Which are basically shiny chains for your feet, sometimes with small charms or rhinestones attached. This, in my humble opinion, places them firmly in the jewelry camp, more akin to elaborate ankle bracelets than strappy sandals. And yet, the bridal community has dubbed them footwear. Which, I am convinced, is the result of a conniving marketer with a twisted sense of humor. I can see him sitting there, twisting his flaxen mustache and writing copy for these new-fangled foot-cages, smirking to himself over the fact that, “There must be a good ball-and-chain joke in here somewhere…”
But this is neither here nor there. Because they are considered shoes by so many, so they shall be added to my list. My list of shoes that are out to get me.
You see, I had been free with my love for them for so very long, that they finally revolted. Apparently, excessive shoe polygamy is not acceptable in the patent-leather pump-wearing lizard-scaled world. It first began with the breaking of a brand new heel. The loud resounding crack was like a shotgun signaling the start of a battle. Only I didn’t realize it then. Next came the squeaks. Oh, the squeaks! Perfectly crafted leather sandals with no prior squeakage were all of a sudden waaaaah-ing and toooot-ing and pppffffff-ing left and right! Oh, the horror! Oh, the embarrassment! Then, the sneakers got involved. “Cheat on us, will you??!!!” they scoffed, crossing their proverbial arms, (which, in this case, let’s face it, were their laces), until they were tied in such definitive knots it seemed like a sailor had alighted from the sixteenth century just to knot them good and give me the heave-ho with a wave of his gnarly poxed middle finger.
Or perhaps that was the era where they bit their thumb at you to show offense. Either way, it’s not good.
But even as this mutiny raged on, I stood steadfast, merely taking this as a sign that I needed to buy more shoes, better shoes, shoes that would not, could not, possibly let me down. And that’s when the shoes started doing the most egregious thing of all.
They started dropping.
Of course, they were too clever to actually drop. They knew Sir Isaac Newton’s theory on gravity, and they were at terms with the fact that they would have to be lifted by an entity outside of themselves to fall. So instead, they did it metaphorically. Invisibly. Treacherously.
And that is how my life began to go downhill.
The first shoe to drop did it in May of 2008. I would give you an exact date, but I can’t quite recall, and let’s face it, you really don’t care, do you? It was a lightweight shoe, a moccasin, lime green suede with colorful beading on the front and slim, I-can-feel-every-pebble-underfoot soles. It dropped on a weekday, which may surprise you, as a moccasin definitely seems like a weekend shoe, especially in such an outrageous color as lime green, but I was a young professional breaking into the teaching world all fresh-faced and enthusiastic with my washable Crayola markers emblazoned with the “teacher-approved” stamp right on the box, and my brand new three-quarter size guitar. (What, I’m short. Small fingers come with the territory.) So there I was, in my freshly pressed blouse and my obligatory adornment of turquoise jewelry, those little lime green mocs peeking out rebelliously from beneath the wide cuffs of my favorite black pinstriped pants. (Because as everyone knows, if you’re going to stick-it-to-the-man, you do it with footwear.)
I was over the moon, because my temporary position for a music teaching maternity leave had led to a job opening, and I was days away from my official interview. My interview outfit was all picked out, a smart black suit with a cobalt blue blouse that gathered in starchy folds in the front, and my favorite black leather stilettos– the ones with the band across the forefoot, ensuring there would be no embarrassing step-outs or heel-snags. Because as we know, the mark of a true power woman is that she would never allow her footwear to impede or break her momentum.
And then it dropped. Two days before the interview. I’m not sure if the moccasins were jealous, spending all that time in my closet gazing at the outfit I’d hung up, complete with the stilettos propped up underneath and my fancy blue topaz necklace draped over the hanger as the pièce de résistance. But as a roiling heat wave wrestled its way into the Hudson Valley, they struck.
“We must act!” They chortled evilly, the colorful beaded fronts taking on the appearance of a hundred menacing eyeballs. And so they did.
At first, I thought the headaches were just a result of the heat. And then the bone-crushing fatigue arrived, and that got blamed on the heat, too.
“Or stress,” my mother supplied knowingly when I complained of the seven dwarves that had taken residence in my cranium, seemingly intent upon heigh-ho-ing their massive sledge hammers against it without breaking for lunch or to imbibe so much as a poisoned apple.
Heat. Or stress. “Very reasonable,” I agreed, staring at my very reasonable black interview shoes.
Only it wasn’t heat. Or stress. It was something else entirely.
You see, something that very few people know is that moccasins have a viciously cruel sense of humor, their love of dramatic irony and word-play almost Oscar-worthy in its deviance. Hence, why their name seems derived from the root word “mock”, followed by “asins”, which in my humble opinion either means they like to mock your sins, or they are mocking assassins with bad spelling skills, as there is clearly an extra “s” missing under that theory. So what did they do? They put a bullseye on my back.
Only it wasn’t on my back, it was on the back of my leg. And it wasn’t a proverbial bullseye, it was an actual bullseye, splashed across my beige skin in loops bordering on brick red with a hint of aubergine. I saw it the morning after my interview. At first it was a tiny pinkish spot, but within hours it had turned into a full-fledged bullseye, splayed across the expanse of my thigh.
It was genius. My lime green moccasins had called in a favor and found a way to teach me a lesson in a way that ensured I would never, ever forget them.
They called out a hit from a tiny woodland creature, the one that parades around on deer and dogs and in some circles is known as the most heinous four-letter word imaginable. Yes, that one; the one that rhymes with “kick.” As in what those shoes delivered me; sucker-punch style.
“Tell her the lime green moccasins say hello,” they guffawed in delight. “No one messes with us.”
And that is the story of how I first got Lyme Disease.
To Be Continued…