Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Sad Tale of the American Writers' Demise

Now that I have finished my classes and have once again begun the dreaded job hunt... the anxiety of finding nothing available to even apply to in my field is starting to take its toll. I have found myself digging through the depths of my mind searching for backup plans and the depths of the want ads searching for anything that won't require me to sell my soul or stand behind a cash register again. For me, ye olde standby has always been writing. I'm not sure if I'm really any good at it or whether I just think I am... and the bulk of my experience comes from newspaper work and mainly in school. I wrote the great American novel at the age of 8... 40 some odd pages of incoherent babbling and something about a whiz kid computer... and then again when I was 12. This time, I co-authored a 97 page atrocity in which I imagined Keanu Reeves playing opposite Christopher Lloyd in the feature film. Either way, its possible that I really don't have any sort of grounds to base judgement on but I refuse to let that stop me! You see, I was looking through the Conde Nast database for jobs in the Austin area. At any publication. ANY. That's when I came across this article for Glamour magazine with the headline: "The Sad Tale of my Favorite Shoes' Demise."
Granted, there isn't much to be expected from a story like this- a little featurette about someone's shoes. I envisioned it being cute and funny and I actually wanted to read it as I had a pair of shoes that I wore to oblivion as well. What I got was a trite, self-indulgent, piece of crap that massacred anything good about the story-telling process. Within the first paragraph or two, the reader is immediately overcome with, not a sense of the story, but a sense of how much the writer loves herself. Instead of funny little anecdotes about previous adventures she has had with her wayward shoes, you read about her seared eel skewers and hamachi snack on the glitzy streets of New York. All I know about her shoes is the name brand... but then again, I doubt much else matters to the author. To add insult to injury, she provides a picture that is God-awful. It is of her mammoth leg and you can almost see the shoe at the end of it, if it weren't for the refracted light off her oft-mentioned rhinestones.
I know I wasn't expecting anything worthy of a Pulitzer going in, but I still felt so cheated and dirty after reading this piece of garbage. I had to check out the comments and as imagined they made my eyes roll. Not one moronic woman commented on the complete lack of a story but instead dove right in to her own self-centered tale of woe without stopping for breath.
I stewed over this article and the fact that she had a job and I didn't. After irrationally fuming over this fact for several days I have decided to rewrite her piece to be something more attuned to what I would have hoped it to be. I am hoping that it will tell something of a story... something a little funny (since it should be about shoes, after all), and something less-- oh, I don't know, SELF-CENTERED? So below I invite you to skim through the first short article and please find my remake. Hopefully it comes out a little better. I guess we'll see.

The original Story can be found here:

otherwise I am copying and pasting below in case that link doesn't work (but the pictures are also pricelessly bad):

So I took your advice, lovely ladies, and I wore the comfy Calvin Klein mirrored wedges for New Year's Eve, so I could dance my arse off without worrying about being uncomfortable. Turns out, a pair of really broken in shoes may not be the best choice for a long night of partying...

I had barely scarfed the last of my seared eel skewers and yellowtail hamachi and stepped onto the sidewalk old reliable friends decided to quit on me, right then and there! The rhinestone strap came right off at the edge, leaving one sad shoe dangling from my foot, and me walking the sidewalks of Nolita in my tights. In their defense, I've given them quite the beating over the years (I literally scaled a gravel hilltop in Tuscany while wearing them once, spilled about two gallons of margaritas on them at a birthday party, and shook my booty in them more than I could possibly remember), but how could they pick a time like that to say sayonara to me? After all we'd been through together? They were comfy and neutral-colored and sparkly and oh just everything you could want in an evening shoe...

So I made a (possibly champagne-fueled) decision then and there. They had served me so well for so long that it was just time for us to part ways. The sole was starting to part from the rest of the shoe and three of the rhinestones had found their way elsewhere and now, with the strap calling it quits, I tossed them in the garbage with a quick thanks for all of their years of service. If you love something, set it free! As much as I pride myself on my carefully curated closet, sometimes you've just gotta know when the fat lady has sung.

Amazingly, my uber-prepared friend Annie had a pair of flats in her handbag and wears a size 5 1/2, like me, so I spent the rest of the evening partying in pure comfort. Sad but true, my friends, sad but true...

What's the worst party fashion disaster you've ever had? Has your dress come unraveled at a wedding? Gotten a run in your hosiery with no spare pair minutes before a job interview? Lost a heel in the sidewalk grate? Leave your own stories (and your sympathies) here!

My version begins here:
If I had a time machine and could travel the space-time continuum, there is one place I would go before I witnessed the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the burial of Jimmy Hoffa, or the post-apocalyptic ruins of a post-nuclear future. That place is the Naturalizer, circa 2001. If I could only go back to that moment in time when I first purchased the most wonderful pair of shoes to ever grace the human foot, I would have been certain to purchase SEVERAL pairs in varying colors. I imagine that comfort is very important in the time travel industry, anyway. Why not, they give out pillows on airplanes... but I digress.
I bought these sandals at the Somerset Mall in Troy, Michigan. They are kind of strappy, kind of chunky, but just plain and elegant footwear. Never a huge fan of shoe shopping, I didn't realize that these shoes would change my life and I barely gave a thought as to which color I wanted. I ended up going with an all purpose brown. And all-purpose pretty much defines the very being of these shoes, anyway. If I wore them with a skirt, they looked dressy. If I wore them with jeans, they looked casual. They were so broken in and so comfortable that if they hadn't finally just deteriorated from over use, I would have worn them forever. (See photo below)

Shortly after this purchase, I moved to Florida and managed a movie theater. I wore these shoes there every day and saw them covered in butter, sweat, and splashed soda day in and day out. I wore them to the store where they were stomped in and stepped on. I wore them out with friends where they put on miles only to be kicked off later. I wore them and wore them and wore them and time passed and passed and passed.
Finally, in January of 2005 I got a puppy. A special dog, Midas was usually a friend to shoes. He made shoe nests and slept on piles of them that he would gather from all over the house. He chewed up books, pants, and miscellaneous papers that he would find lying around, but the shoes were always used solely for nesting purposes and I couldn't have been more glad for this fact. One day, however, I was sitting on the couch sliding into one of them when I noticed little nibble marks. My first instinct was to yell at poor Midas and I ran to see what horrible thing he had to be up to right at that moment. But alas, he was simply adding a peanut to his mysterious pile of peanuts that he had been collecting (and not eating) which is a whole other story...
Anyhow, after further examination, it didn't appear that Midas was really CHEWING on them, but dragging them around-- for nesting purposes. The sides had begun to weaken and I knew that the end would inevitably come. I had been denying their wear and their age for awhile now. For four years I had worn these shoes to every possible venue, outing, or event. I couldn't imagine not having them. So I clung. I continued to wear them in denial of all the signs that the disease was fatal. My husband was the first to give up all hope. He insisted that I throw them out and get shoes that weren't "stinky death traps." But I didn't listen. I kept pushing forth and made new memories and added new miles with each passing month.
The end came on a fall night late in 2006. Of course, it was always on the back of my mind, but I still didn't see it coming. Rounding a corner at the local Wal-Mart, my brain was occupied with the locating of refrigerator magnets when the strap broke... I went down like a gorilla with a tranquilizer in its neck. Customers scrambled out of the way and I took out an end cap of Scotch tape. My knee and wrist throbbing, I grabbed frantically for the shoe... but it was too late. It was the end.

"FINALLY." I heard my husband say from behind me. "Oh, I'm fine!" I shot back, fighting tears. The rest of the night was a blur. I know I left in new shoes. Shoes that would eventually betray me and join forces with evil gravity to mock my motor skills. It has never been the same. I have never fallen for another like I did for those sandals. When I think of the good times we had... I look back on that first day... to the very first moments that they were truly mine as I punched in my pin number. I remember how I had spent close to $50 on lotion for a friend that day as well. They had stopped making the lotion-- her favorite-- and I wanted her to get some before there was none left. These shoes, outlasted that friendship.

They say live life with no regrets. But I regret. If you ever find that perfect shoe... get another pair. Get two more pair. You NEVER know when they will leave you for good. Don't make the same mistake I made. Rest in peace, dear shoes. When that time machine comes my way, we will meet again.

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