This story was originally posted on my first website in 1994. I have worn the shoes every day since then. Yesterday (2001.12.21), I bought a new pair.

Doc Martens and Tater Tots


Today I spent 120 dollars on a pair of shoes.

There. I've said it and I'm glad I've said it.

In the words of Anthony Newley, "What kind of fool am I?"

Never in my life did I think that I would spend so much money for a pair of shoes. But I had the money sitting in my pocket. I was supposed to be here, in the mall, buying a pair of shoes. That's what the money was for.

I went first to the software store. No shoes there, of course, but I wanted to pick up a box of floppies and check out the new titles. I went to Radio Shack, to pick up an end for my recently broken car antenna. I went to the book store, I just like bookstores. I went to the first shoe store I saw, and found a pair of Doc Marten greasy 8 eyelet shoes. Size 12, black.

I looked at the price tag, too much.
Way too much, I heard my father's voice say from the grave.

I knew I wouldn't buy them, so I left the store and walked over to Sears. They didn't have Doc Martens, they had Dox. Dox look alot like Doc Martens, but were at least $25 cheaper.
Still overpriced, said my dad.
I went to JC Penneys, same thing, Dox, same price as Sears.

What the hell, I thought, I'll go back to that first shoe store and look at the Doc Martens and then I'll be convinced to buy the Dox.

I found my pair of greasy 8 eyelet Doc Martens size 12 black again and held the left one in my hand for awhile. The leather was soft, almost enticing...

The salesman, a nice young guy, asked me if I needed help.
"I'm just wondering if I'll feel stupid wearing a hundred dollar pair of shoes", I said.
"Well, there's alot of poeple out there wearing them", he said.
Alot of people are stupid, my father's voice said.

I stood there unable to decide, holding the shoe. Episodes of my life began to flash into my mind.

The time my dad bought a brand new 1974 Ford Gran Torino Brougham, loaded with all the bells and whistles. He stood out in the driveway admiring his purchase, feeling up the fender.
"Looks almost like a Lincoln, doesn't it", he said.

The time I bought ACME brand tater tots instead of Ore-Ida brand Tater Tots. The ACME tots never cooked up to have that golden brown color of the Ore-Ida Tots. The ACME tots wereall but inedible, I had to throw them out.

I vowed on that day to never be fooled by generic look-alikes and name-alikes.

I looked at the salesman. He looked at me.
"I'll take 'em", I said.

Damn the torpedoes, a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do. I bought the shoes AND the special polish. I'm wearing them now as I write this. I don't feel stupid. I feel good, my feet feel good.

They damn well better feel good...

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