I HAVE A FRIEND AND SHE HATES ME BECAUSE I COPIED HER SHOES. WHAT DO I DO?
I am blessed with the evolutionary advantage of the tentacle. Mine are long, strong, thick and nimble. They can grasp and pull, rut and writhe. They are the "leatherman" of possible appendages, and I cherish them. In contrast, you have two foots. Your feets are bent and hardened from walking. They are arthritic and covered with the Athlete's Fungus. You have yellowed nails that need trimming and corns, calluses, parasites and toe hair. And unlike your cousin, the monkey, your feet cannot grasp anything at all. They are nigh-useless, except as stumps upon which to walk. I am saddened for you. I find your feets ugly to gaze upon, and churlish to contemplate.
In fact, I resent you somewhat even now for asking a question that makes me consider the categorical foots.
But my Advice Giving Occupation is sacred unto me, and so contemplate your corned and calluses hooves I shall. No thanks are needed.
I had oft assumed that footwear was merely decorative, like hair or eye color, and that it served no natural use. In conversation once, Molly disabused me of this notion. She made it clear to me that the male of your species finds attractive in an opposite-gendered mate the wearing of the "cruel shoes." The crueler the better, in Molly's opinion. Any engineered attempt to make the shoes more deadly for the wearer—and therefore to show off the skill of the shoe-displayer—was considered "hot." High heels which twist ankles. Platform shoes that totter. Boots that require lotions and manservants to squeeze into. All of these are akin to trodding on danger made real. Death strapped to one's extremities—the notion was appealing.
Molly delivered this lecture back in the White House, when she was the Vice to my Prez. And when a pair of tall heels sent her atumbling down the steps of Airforce Uno. Molly lacks the skills to attract a mate. This has often been my supposition.
Having learned previously of the arcane science of footwear operation, I elected to engage Molly again for your query, oh Friendless Footwear Copier. Also, I queried Devo, who is a Gay, as to his opinion. The Gays are known to have strong qualities that females do also possess, it is said. And so Devo might have had a beneficial insight.
My camera eyes found him in the garage cum workshop, laying nearly naked upon the floor, grease-covered, and tinkering in the belly of what could be described as a hovercraft. His supine form jerked as my voice boomed from the ceiling-mounted speakers, "DEVO! I REQUIRE YOUR HOMOSEXUAL EXPERTISE IN ANSWERING A FOOTWEAR QUESTION! A HELPFUL ANSWER WILL RESULT IN CAKE FOR YOU TO CONSUME. BUT THE CAKE HAS BEEN BAKED BY ROB AND JARWAUN, SO IT IS OF QUESTIONABLE QUALITY. DO YOU ACCEPT THIS CHALLENGE, KNOWING BOTH THE REWARD AND PERIL THAT LIE BEFORE YOU?"
Devo slide out from beneath the vehicle, he was indeed naked, Dear Readers. We have received fan mail asking for more nude photos of Devo, and I must apologize at being unable to fulfill your request. After the last batch was posted online Devo removed my camera's file-saving ability.
"Squiddy," Devo said, washing engine grease off his face. "I don't know anything about shoe ettiquette. Guys have different ideas about copying fashion. It isn't taboo, like it is with the women. Hell, it's kind of flattering to go to some place and to find men dressed the same as you. It's like you chose correctly, or picked a winner or something. If you want a woman's input, go ask Molly."
And so I did.
Molly was telecommuting from her apartment—she was feeling ill of late—and so I did use my cellular telephonic device to call her. She answered with a cough and sniffle, but I believe I heard revelry in the background. It is possible that the illness was being faked, and that she was actually in a tropic or sub-tropic environ drinking with turistas.
"MOLLY, I APOLOGIZE FOR INTRUDING ON YOUR SICK-TIME, BUT I HAVE A DIRE SHOE EMERGENCY! AND YOUR EXPERTISE IS NEEDED IMMEDIATELY!" I explained to her the gist of your letter, Shoe Copier, and Molly tsked and clucked of her tongue.
"You just can't do that. You cannot copy another woman's shoes, unless they are something whose point is conformity, like Converse or sandals or something. It's sort of okay then."
The party noise grew louder behind Molly and I heard the distinctive evil riffs of Buffeted Jimmy begin. She moved into what sounded like a bathroom and closed the door.
"Okay, so shoes for women are a serious affair. Especially when you are younger, or at a fancy party. Or, y'know, in the White House. I remember once I had Madeleine Albright over for tea and she showed up wearing the exact same Jimmy Choos as I was wearing! Can you believe it?" Molly paused here, awaiting a repsonse. I had been practicing my conversational junctions just this morning, so I was prepared.
"I KNOW, RIGHT?" And I did shrug and furrow my brow as I said this and Molly continued.
"So Maddy apologized on the spot and took her Choos off and handed them over to a page and that was that. You cannot copy another woman's shoes. We have like a gazillion different shoes to choose from as women. Even more if you use eBay and look for old styles. There is no excuse. None."
I could hear Molly opening the medicine cabinet and rattling a bottle of pills. "AND SO IS THE FRIENDSHIP DOOMED? WHAT ACTIONS CAN BE UNDERTOOK TO PRESERVE THIS FRIENDSHIPPERY?"
"Nah, it's not doomed. This kind of thing happens. She should have shown the courtesy and grace that Maddy showed. God damn I love that woman. But it's not too late. She just needs to get some new shoes, throw the old ones away, and apologize to her friend. Tell her it will never happen again." Molly coughed weakly into the phone, "Look, I'm not feeling so hot I'm going to go back to the, umm, bed now."
"THANK YOU, MOLLY. THIS HAS BEEN A TRIUMPH OF ADVICE. I AM MAKING A NOTE IN YOUR PERSONAL FILE: HUGE SUCCESS."
As I account it, you have two possible choices before you, Friendless One. Primero: follow Molly's advice and apologize sincerely and vow to change your plagiaristic ways. Dos: follow Devo's advice and become a Gay. You will then be able to indulge your copying in a crowd of like-minded copiers.
The choice is yours.
The Giant Squid
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Copyright (c) 2000, 2004, David Erik Nelson, Fritz Swanson, Morgan Johnson