Friday, April 12, 2002


Even out in countryside Japan there comes a pre-summer time in a boy's father's life that the boy's mother knows little of, when said father looks at his prepubescent son's awesomely ratty sneakers and with a tear in his eye remembers the equivalently ratty sneakers of his own boyhood when, as summer approached, a sacred desire filled the boy that filled those sneakers, for a new and racy pair thereof in which to run faster and jump farther than ever before toward the summer and the life that loomed, and so it is that the father takes his son into the big city to buy a summer-new pair of really good sneakers, maybe some white high-top Converse All Stars, like the father himself used to wear, that got so authentically dirty real quick, as he recalls, or maybe a pair of Jack whatsisnames, it was a long time ago runs through his mind as he enters the airplane-hangar-like supersneaker store and his son beelines toward the aerospacefully bioengineered ergonomico-scientific footwear touted by an eight-foot-tall black man whose cutout stands in the corner pointing at the footwear with big looklike dollar signs in his eyes and the son says this is what I want, and the father checks the price and cancels that dream of restoring a '55 Corvette; after all, the kid wants shoes endorsed by a guy who zips a knobbly rubber ball through a hoop 15-20 times on a few good nights a year and for that makes more money in a single season than the father will in his entire life, so why not give the guy the father's salary? At least maybe the son will drool with gratitude, and gratitude drool is worth its weight in gold to the suddenly unmonied father of any gimme-gimme teenager, so the father springs for it, and the son walks out of the store wearing the monetary equivalent of four top-of-the-line snow tires on each foot, and the basketball player can take an extra bimbo out for burritos down in Cancun, and the boy's mother gets to say YOU PAID HOW MUCH FOR A PAIR OF WHAT and within a month or so its ratty sneakers all over again and the father can't help but think how wonderful it is that life relentlessly supplies us with ways to make so many people happy, over and over again like this.

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