Hey there you savvy shoe shopper—

I got this pair of Fry’s boots a little over a year ago.

I been lusting after a pair of these ever since my spensive-magnet eyeballs 👀💰🧲 spotted a pair in the DSW a few years back, but the price tag was a lil steep on that adjunct salary.

But I finally got me a pair. 🥾

Found a great deal. Just the right shape, just the right shade of brown.

I wore them to teach masked Musical Theatre Literature last fall and got a nice round of compliments on my fancy handcrafted leather kicks. Thanks y’all.

But by lunch my heels were a screamin.

That handcrafted leather seam in the back of the boot was rubbing a red swollen crease right below my leather loving achilles.

Plus, my left pinky toe was none too pleased.

I wore them a few more times saying the magic words, “Break-a in-acadabra,” but it’s been a slow slog.

So, the other Friday when I was gonna meet my Masters students for the first time, I thought it was the day for my hooves to be shod with the fancy stuff.

I tried them on, and I thought, hey, these are a lot comfier than I remembered. I think these are finally breaking in!

I threw my brown messenger bag over my shoulder (a forty-something professor look I’m noticing is kinda basic in Boston as the kids say), kissed Melissa and the boys, and headed out the door.

I did grab a pair of trusty lace-up boots that I knew wouldn’t hurt me and threw them in the passenger floorboard just in case.

By the time I parked at the train station, I had that lil gut feeling— the one you don’t wanna listen to :/— that my shoe choice wasn’t gonna work out.

But I thumped that lil shoe angel off my shoulder in favor of my shiny leather risk bootsies. I left my trusty lace-ups behind and flung my feetsies to the fatesies.

I was about 100 steps past Fenway Park when I my grave miscalculation became apparent.

By the time I arrived to the bottom of the four flights of stairs up to my teaching studio, I was walking like the dude who rode the water ride too early in the day at Six Flags.

I stopped in the bathroom for a little TP MacGyver-ing, but that was about as helpful as you’d think stuffing crumpled wads of poor man’s Scott tissue in your shoes would be.

I made the ascent to the studio and taught just fine through the morning, but then I had to WALK somewhere to get some food.

I grimaced my way to the fancy Berklee dining hall I heard tell about when the dining manager informed me that I was getting free faculty coffee in the wrong place (newbie problems).

The problem was it was full of students. And lines. It was like the cafeteria in FAME, and I’m still getting used to being around humans again. Coupled with the desire to scream, MY DOGS ARE KILLING ME! GET OUT OF MY WAY!—Couldn’t do it.

My heels told me in no uncertain terms that my next destination needed to be the CVS on Mass Ave, so through the streets I limped.

I did catch this cool photo on my way, though—love all that architecture.

I bought a pack of purple and hot pink gauze and those sticky heel pads you’re supposed to put in your flats. They had a lovely design.

I collapsed on a bench outside an apartment building and took off my boots like I was auditioning for the trench foot number in the musical version of All Quiet on the Western Front.

I gave my poor feetsies some September vitamin D and proceeded to wrap my dogs like I was the principle dancer with Les Ballets Trockadero—go drama or go home. 🩰

Once I had my pink patterned heel pads in place (2 in each boot, thank you) and my left pinky toe individually wrapped (I was getting a mean blister), I was ready to make my way to meet my new grad students.

It did help. I’d progressed from a oh-he’s-done-for-the-season hobble to a why’s-that-guy-walking-so-slow-and-upright shuffle.

Class was great (I stayed seated), and I ginger-footed my way back past Fenway to the train platform and eventually to my trusty lace-up boots looking up at me from the floorboard saying, “I know you missed me.”

My tale’s moral?

Sometimes you wait and wait for that fancy thing, and then you get it, and you’re all whoopsie, this is not a good fit.

You remember back to that time when you felt the contracted, hold-up feeling urging you to choose the broken-in brown boots for that day, and you’re all like dang. Shoulda listened.

The shiny boots are not delivering the amount of awesome you forecast.

These things happen—and a lot of times, we’re spared from the fancy things we think we need. I can rolodex through several instances when shoes went mercifully out of stock.

I can also tell you many a tale about buying that pair at max markup and wearing those freakin foot crushers until friends had to team-lift me to get some help.

But if your fancy foot fashion is currently causing you a great deal of podiatric pain, go get all the hot pink gauze and stylish heel pads you need to walk the mean streets dodging all those aqua-haired emo musical prodigies trudging around in their Doc Martens.

And when you finally get your comfy shoes back on and power walk all the way to your office like Richard Simmons just drank a large Dunkies iced coffee with pumpkin swirl, you’ll be that much more grateful for a pair of sensible sneaks to carry you from A to B—as well as legs. 🦵= gracias.

And no matter what’s on your feet right now (I just got socks), remember that there’s only one a you, and folks need to hear the story that only you can sing.

Love much,

Dan

ps I did make it to the Berklee dining hall the next week, and they’ve got the goods. I particularly enjoyed the TWO chocolate chip cookies I ate 🍪🍪 and watching the world go by on Mass Ave as I finished prepping for my Friday class.