Did anyone else have to wear those awful special-order shoes? The ones that came in one color, one style and one sad-looking, yellow box? It wasn’t even a fun day when they were picked up. The shoe salesman just kind of shook his head and went, “enjoy your functional footwear.”
Abruptly, junior high, bell bottoms and platform shoes walked into the room. The higher the platform, the more the cool oozed from every pore of your being. Proper foot alignment and common sense lost out to style and absurdity. If your heel was so tall that you had to lean forward to walk, you were somebody. (Translation: those with good posture went to the bottom of the popularity scale.)
Not to be outdone, the clog offered the platform popularity with the additional, mid-winter, bare-naked heel appeal. Trudging through snow drifts and surprise rain storms was the perfect way to break in your brand new, clunky shoe obsession. Tender heal skin and intact argyle socks were a distant memory. The ripe scent of feet marinated in soggy clogs was a mark of stature.
These supposed works of Dutch culture were not entirely aerodynamic. In fact, when removed from the foot and placed in the hand of a diabolical sort, they made efficient brother-smackers and would today likely be classified as medieval weaponry. Law and Order missed a real opportunity to incorporate murder- by- clog in their story lines.
It’s hard to imagine now the noise level of the 70s. Cars sped down the road without mufflers. Boom boxes sat on shoulders, well – booming – without the aid of ear buds. We all clunked around on our high wooden shoes, just trying to make it down the street without leaning forward so far we fell on our hair- sprayed helmet. Life was loud and meaningful.
“How’s the new record player?” someone yelled from across the street.
“Record player? With that fancy diamond needle?”
“Can’t hear you! I’m clog walking!”
Shoes today come in an incredible array of styles, fashions and noise levels. Shoe judgement starts long before the halls of junior high, with kids as young as four casting a reproachful eye at those non-blinking, generic things on someone else’s feet. Silently they glide, with no idea of the sacrifice we, the clog generation made for their benefit.