Thursday, October 29, 2009

Funny Looking Shoes, and a Wager

"You're going to need different shoes," said Dr. Askew, who surgically fused my ankle back in June.

Outcome studies on people with ankle fusions show increased osteoarthritis in the non-fused joints in the foot, and I've already got a fair amount of that due to the original accident back in 1980. So I paid attention to him.

There are, he said, two shoes that are helpful: New Balance 1123's, and MBT "rocker" bottom shoes -- the "anti-shoe."

Neither is inexpensive. The New Balance shoe, carried by Footzone on Wall street as well as other shops around town, is pretty flashy for an old guy with a limp. They've got chrome or something shiny on them. Runners, it appears, like their shoes complicated and colorful. "Super" Dave helped fit me and they felt much better than my old sneakers, so I bought a pair.

I do feel pretty silly in them. "Brown shoes don't make it," Frank Zappa once sang, but at my age, brown shoes feel right. They are understated. One does not wish to be off-putting unless one is dashing enough to carry it off, and I missed the dashing gene.

The MBT shoes are stocked across Wall at North Soles Footware. Margo, the owner, got me fitted up. It's also a goofy-looking shoe with a thick, rounded sole, and is very odd to walk on. But it does provide a lot of stability and rolling forward on the sole gives me a bit of a platform to launch off of for the next step, something that is otherwise difficult to do when the ankle don't bend.

I got a pair of brown ones.

Mrs Elliott tried on a womens pair in white. Looked like orthop├Ždic shoes, or those nurse's shoes which were worn back in the starched uniform Nurse Ratched day. She declined to buy them.

So I strolled over to Pine Tavern in my new brown shoes for a meeting with a fellow who goes by "blackdog" online. His blog, Bend Sux, is dedicated to the proposition that Bend "...really, truly, deeply and profoundly sucks." He has recently introduced a "daily suck index" (DSI) intended to demonstrate that the weather around here has a high degree of suckitudinosity.

I needed to see him about that.

Suckiness, as it pertains to weather and a host of other things, including but not limited to music, art, architecture, food, wine, clothes, one's parents, the neighbor's yappy little dog, und so weiter, is of course a completely subjective matter. But given the title of blackdog's blog, it's easy to see where he's gotta go with this: the weather sucks in, one presumes, a deep and profound way, and frequently enough so that any human with a shred of intelligence who can, would leave.

Now, I personally find the climate here bracing, refreshing, challenging, unpredictable, the skies beautiful; and the change of the seasons deeply moving, unlike the pale version that we get in coastal SoCal, which is the easy-listening music of weather.

But I can't challenge another's opinion about what constitutes nice weather. To each his own. However, over on Bend Sux I did question whether blackdog had the tenacity and perseverance to rate the DSI on a daily basis for an entire year. "He doesn't have what it takes," I thought.

I certainly couldn't gin up the patience and creativity needed to remark about the weather every day.

So a wager was offered. A time and location for a meeting was agreed upon so each could take the measure of the other.

Thus last night's meeting at Pine Tavern, where over a pint of porter (me) and a glass of red wine (him), we both agreed that easy listening jazz deeply and profoundly sucks.

That settled, we got around to the point of the meeting. Buoyed up by ale and the new-found confidence that sometimes accompanies new shoes, I bet him cash money that he'd find writing about the weather every day, for a full 365 days, to be about as interesting as cleaning out those Augean stables, or updating a newspaper's obituaries, and that he'd not accomplish his mission.

(NB: A loophole was left open that needs closing. On more than one occasion he's done a Suck Index after several days of blog-silence. It's the Daily Suck Index I'm betting against, not some made-up weak Weekly Suck Index or other workaround. And at time of writing, I don't believe a DSI has been posted for today. There's cash at stake.)

As we left I showed him these goofy-looking MBT shoes. It does appear that I will be sporting odd footwear for, like, ever.

9 comments:

  1. easy listening jazz does not suckOctober 29, 2009 at 8:35 PM

    Hey, I play easy listening jazz for a living and would argue that indeed it does not suck...

    ReplyDelete
  2. It only doesn't suck if you're getting paid to play it. Even so, my friend, somewhere, deep inside you, you know that easy listening is the anti-jazz, the jazz from the Bizarro world, where yes means no, where lame is good and tame exciting, where creativity is shunned in favor of formula. Step over to the dark side, my friend; be bold and stop practicing "safe sax."

    ReplyDelete
  3. "I personally find the climate here bracing, refreshing, challenging, unpredictable"

    The last two adjectives I would definitely agree with.

    ReplyDelete
  4. "A loophole was left open that needs closing. On more than one occasion he's done a Suck Index after several days of blog-silence. It's the Daily Suck Index I'm betting against, not some made-up weak Weekly Suck Index or other workaround. And at time of writing, I don't believe a DSI has been posted for today. There's cash at stake."

    We have a misunderstanding. My understanding was that you would win the bet if I didn't keep doing the Daily Suck Index for a year. I didn't hear anything about being obliged to post one every day. There will be times when that will be inconvenient if not impossible (for instance if I'm traveling). So if those are your terms I have to reject them.

    ReplyDelete
  5. "Hey, I play easy listening jazz for a living and would argue that indeed it does not suck..."

    Depends how one defines "easy listening jazz," I guess. Some people would say Stan Getz and Bill Evans played "easy listening jazz." There's a vast distance between John Coltrane and Kenny G, and where a given performer falls on that spectrum is a matter of personal opinion.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Here's my concern. Say you wait a year then publish a DSI for the entire year. How can my fact-checkers be expected to go back through a year's worth of weather data? They are already overworked and underpaid. We'll need to negotiate a compromise on this delicate point. Discussions of this nature are often best done in person. Over beer and wine. I'm buying this time.

    ReplyDelete
  7. "...where a given performer falls on that spectrum is a matter of personal opinion."

    Yep, yep, yep. It's often only after years or decades that we get enough perspective to evaluate the significance of a performer's opus or a genre's impact.

    When "in the time," one can get a good idea how history will eventually judge artists by finding out who other musicians are listening to, and those would generally be the artists who have chops and are doing interesting music.

    Album and ticket sales to hoi polloi are not an effective tool.

    ReplyDelete
  8. "Discussions of this nature are often best done in person. Over beer and wine. I'm buying this time."

    Absolutely; nothing like a little alcohol to lubricate negotiations. (Maybe if the Israeli and Palestinian diplomats could get royally sloshed together we'd see some progress?)

    Name the time and place.

    BTW, zappos.com has a wide selection of MBT shoes, if you decide you want another pair.

    ReplyDelete

 
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