Tag Archives: without material goods who are we?

statement made

I know it’s not okay to say that you like Nike because of all the sweat shop stuff and something about their shoes being made from the skin of Brazilian babies, but I’m a huge fan of their workout clothing and shoes.

Everything I wear to the gym is Nike.  In fact the CMO of Nike just texted me and told me that because I’m blogging about the brand, he’ll pay me three small children every time I write Nike.  So Nike, Nike, Nike.  I hope those kids are hard workers.

I realize that their stuff isn’t any better than any other sporting goods company, but the reason I am so obsessed with Nike is that when I was a kid, I could never have their shoes.

When I was young Nike Airs had just came out and obviously any kid that was worth anything had to have them.  This was a problem for me because I was a kid who was worth nothing.  Because I was poor.  I’m talking steal-your-friend’s-G.I. Joes-because-you-can’t-afford-any poor.

I remember pleading with my Mom and Dad for the Airs and being instantly rebuffed because for some insane reason they thought food was more important – a point I still dispute to this day.

Because they couldn’t afford to buy me Nikes (or Bugle Boys, by the way) my parents took me to the shoe store and bought me another brand of sneakers.  After I stopped crying and pounding my fists on the wall in protest, I thought that maybe it would not be that bad and I’d end up with some sweet Reeboks, but that’s not the way it went.

While all my friends walked around with their new, flashy, These Make You A Better Person Nike Airs, I had on my feet a brand of shoes called Winners.

Yes, Winners.

Just for the record: Nike > Winners.

The amount of ridicule that I endured because of my all-white Winners still sits with me today as I type this, and that’s why I go out of my way to purchase any and all Nike apparel/footwear.

It’s to let people know that I am A Person now.  A Person who wears brand names and sometimes has money in his pocket that he might spend at any moment!

But most of all, it’s for that little boy inside of me who still carries the pain of wearing generic sneakers to gym class, and who had to hear “Nice Winners, Loser!” one too many times.

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identity

Yesterday Ari and I went shopping for shoes because somehow when I got back from Mexico, the bottoms of my favorite shoes fell off.  I think it was their way of rebelling against things like civilization and work.

We went to several different places before she finally found a pair of boots that she liked and I found a new pair of shoes to replace my rebellious ones, and as we waited on line to pay for them, something odd happened.

I will forever remember that moment as, The Moment When That Odd Thing Happened.

I was talking to Ari about how my new shoes will impact my personality (probably increasing my coolness by 17%) when the woman who sold me my shoes said to the cashier, “These are for the husband.”

Husband.

Husband.

I’ve never been called that before.  It sent shock-waves up and down my spine and maybe made my hands start sweating.

To Ari’s credit, as soon as it happened, she knew she had A Situation on her hands, and looked for signs of shock.

I turned to her and stammered, “Did she just call me a husband???  I don’t know how I feel about that.  I think I’m getting cold feet!”  Of course I was acting like my usual overreacting-self, so Ari took it all in stride and eventually calmed me down.  But it was quite the scene.

I know I’m not even married yet, but for intents and purposes, I am a “husband.”  I just haven’t done the formalities, like dancing to The Hokey Pokey and pretending not to cry when Wind Beneath My Wings comes on.

Hearing someone refer to me this way touched me in a very real and profound way.  It made me start thinking about relationships, and how they can be like the sweetest flower, growing and blossoming into something so beautiful that they are appreciated for a lifetime.

Or maybe it just made me feel old.

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chic

I like to consider myself a stylish dude when it comes to clothes, but every time I start to get a big ego about the way I dress, Ari always likes to remind me of these:

 

Those are the S. Carter Tennis Lows.  I once owned a pair of these shoes.

And wore them.

In public.

I’m not even joking with you.  I actually went to a store and purchased those shoes for $110.

I remember going into a Foot Locker, picking them out, and thinking, “Oh, these are those new Jay-Z shoes – I should get these!”

Then I showed them to this girl I was with at the time, and she said, “Oh. Those? Yes, those are nice.”  In retrospect I should have been a little more perceptive and realized that what she was really saying was, “Oh, those might be the ugliest shoes I’ve ever seen.  They’ll make people laugh at you.  A lot.”

But you have to understand something about me:  I did not always care about fashion or style, so the S. Carters were a huge step for me.

I looked like this only a couple years before then, for god’s sake:

I was this pseudo hippie with gross dreads who wore patchwork pants and tie-dye Grateful Dead t-shirts all the time.

My idea of Looking Nice was wearing an old button up shirt I bought from Goodwill that may or may not have been worn by a 70’s porn star.  And it was poop brown.

So really, when you think about it, the S. Carters were not that bad compared to what I was wearing just a few years prior to buying them.

In fact, maybe during lunch today I’ll go out and buy a pair and impress Ari with my fashion sense all over again.

Only this time I think I’ll get them in blue.

They’ll go with more of my outfits.

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i’m only as young as my things

I have a problem.

It’s this:

ugly dumb bag

No, not my dog.  He’s fine.  Well, fine in that he hasn’t peed on my shoe in about a month.  I tried to just take a picture of my bag, but every time I did, Jack would start biting my leg, so I had to agree to his terms of being in the picture.  He can be such a diva.

It’s my bag.

It’s the bag that I use to carry my clothes that I use for the gym every day – and it’s an Eddie Bauer bag.

That’s right.

Eddie Bauer.

I carry a bag that proudly declares “Eddie Bauer” on its side every single day of the week.

Do you know who uses Eddie Bauer stuff?

This guy.

Sure, he seems like he’s nice.

But he’s old.  Very, very old.  And while he may have been The Tops back in his day, it is safe to say that he is not on top of his game any longer.

Old people wear/use Eddie Bauer stuff.

I should not be using a bag that immediately adds 73 years to my life.

When people see me with this bag, they automatically assume I wear adult diapers, miss I Love Lucy and eat dinner at 1:30 in the afternoon.

They don’t understand that I am – in fact – Really Cool.

See?

Even with a thumb in the picture I pulled off a “Man, I am too cool for this” look. Actually, I was just pissed off that the train was taking forever, but you get my point.

My bag is giving people the wrong idea about who I am as a person, and I have got to put a stop to it.

It’d be different if people didn’t judge others on material possessions, but c’mon – who the hell doesn’t do that?

(Now that you’re done here, please go read my guest post over at Oh! How Lovely! It’s amazing and will make you love life even more than that time you found that hidden bag of Doritos in your cupboard. And if you don’t regularly read Oh! How Lovely! start now.)

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