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#155 :: Shoe Forms

July 14, 2004

The 26 bones in your foot take a step-by-step beating of 900 pounds per square inch. The femur will take 1,200, but that’s another story. Leather shoes – still de rigeur at weddings, in courts of law, on golf courses and bowling alleys, collapse over time if not properly supported and shaped. During the Song Dynasty, girls had all their toes but the first broken and bound tightly with cloth strips to keep them from growing much larger than 3.9 inches, forcing them to develop into “lotus hooks”, rendering them useless as they grew and their owners a burden to anyone but rich parents. But that’s another story. I found these at a yard sale for a buck, shined up their stamped-aluminum adjusting hardware, stripped and refinished the wood and then put them in a closet since I don’t wear much in the way of leather shoes. Nor does anybody else in this age of $130 basketball sneakers, Tevas, fashion Chucks and so on, which is probably making the shoeshine stall a dying business. But that’s another story. Imagine the foot-shaped foot surrogate surrounded by the foot-shaped clothing, itself both conforming to and shaping the foot inside, which gives shape to the shoe in return. Instead of imagining what the “other stories
really are – or clicking off to visit them willy-nilly, imagine that your entire body is built like these carven feet, hinged with metal joints, your wooden head filled with sawdust, ball bearings and busy termites. As a group of friends and I concluded last night while trying to compile a list of most-loathed clichés, welcome to my world. “But that’s another story.”

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