This week, there have been an amalgam of forms in play. I guess I shouldn’t be all that surprised how it’s flowing out of my pen when I should be sleeping.

On one track, I’ve been thinking about shoes. Yeah, I know, right? Shoes?

On another channel, a Friend of the Highest Order {FOH}

shared some poetry (of all things) with me. I’ll share it with you shortly. And even more remarkable is the poems’ real-life back story and the additional voltage it brings to the verse. That too, will I share.


Chaussures. Ha’naal. kama`a. Meksen. Shoe *. Most of us have them. Some have one or two pair. Others? Maybe five or six. Some of us have so many zapatas that the ‘dream closet’ to hold ones shoes (as shown on HGTV) qualifies as a room in many other parts around the globe.


We all need them – unless that is, you happen to run marathons in Kenya. Nomadic or glacial, our early relatives all had shoes. There are benefits to having shoes. Sahara sands or 3-feet of snow, shoes make sense. In the words of my Founding Fathers, I believe we can agree to hold these truths as self-evident.

Right Hand Turn Sign

On a completely different road: After a week or so of foreplay, events came to pass that I had a job interview on Thursday (via a recruiter – I need to write about that profession all on its own.). It’s been awhile since I had to wear suits to work. While they still hang neatly ranked on wooden hangers in my closet, truth is they’ve all pretty much paid their rent. Time passages.


So kicking and screaming, I agreed as ‘we’ decided the interview warranted going suit shopping. Arrrrrgggghh. Long story short; We found one that was perfect. Bought it. Sigh. Retail experience now coming to a close.

And wouldn’t you know it, no sooner were we out of the store, Rick says, “We need to get you a good pair of black dress shoes to go with this suit”. Just when you think it’s safe to go back into the water…Arrrrrgggghh. It’s like when you paint the room and the furniture looks tired. And now, as you sit reading my prose and looking over at your new couch, you realize the carpet is dirty. So as ever, the beat goes on. Sonny and Cher knew what they were singing about. Fine. Find shoes. Buy shoes. Like shoes. What a trooper!

And you know what? Morning of the interview, I looked good. I felt great. I’d done my homework. And I could say I had a good pair of cordovans, a black dress shoe and wear either for work until I can relax. Then, somewhere around Miller Time, I find my dark blue top-sider-esque tennis shoes. Hyannis Port move over. I am a happy man. It’s been quite awhile since I had all three bases covered in such good style. So even though the plan was to be sleeping right now, I’m sitting here propped up by pillows and scribbling. I can’t predict when I’ll feel like I do when I know I’m in the flow of things. But I am instantaneous in recognizing its presence. It’s a rush to just decide to let all of this stuff run free, if only within the confines of my legal pad.

Did I get the job?


Am I traumatized at the rejection?

Not at all.

3 Panel Interview by Glassdoor

I look at it this way. The whole interview process is for both parties to get a chance to talk. There are things I want to know about the position, something about them and their culture. There are there things in their business problem that they’re looking for a match-to-purpose. That’s cool. It’s their job. And no matter which interest you’re representing, unasked questions can come back to bite you. Both sides have to see the match. So I look forward to interviews. All of which brings me to my take-away from Thursdays person-to-persons conversation.

I’ll be honest. I’m not exceedingly picky about fooling myself that there is such a thing as ‘the perfect job’ out there. But in being balanced in my exploratory, one of my primary interview objectives is to give equal gaze to the positive side of the ledger; what were the up-sides? It wasn’t long and I already knew some of what I needed to know.

As the conversation with Bridget and Ray unfolded, I began stumbling over some legitimate warning signs. They were in deep.

I remember thinking to myself how I could tell you the precise moment when I knew they weren’t paying nearly enough for me to be the guy to step into this particular bonfire. Nice people, but they were in a mature industry not used to having to compete for a defined pool of business. They were wrestling with how it had come to be they were reduced to raiding each other for market share as their only path to profitability.

Here’s the weird part. the very next thought, that went off was, ‘Feels good to be back in a swanky conference room…and I’m wearing a really good pair of shoes‘. It was good. It almost echoed. I then suddenly snapped back into the program and proceeded to graciously cooperate in bringing the hour to a close. Nice. Neat. Worthy.

As many of you may have already deduced, my opinions about shoes had gradually shifted of late to viewing the shoe as not much more than a utilitarian object of necessity. But because I’ve walked a lot of miles in my shoes, I recognize their value as witness to the long ways I’ve gone to assemble some very valuable experience. That’s worth something. So I’ve got to give it up for a more evolved relation ship with shoes. After all, they are the ones protecting my feet, feet who have carried me through every single moment of my life – since birth. Feet are important. So if that’s true, then shoeing them is important too. Else what would be the point?

I’ve got skin in this ongoing development game. I’m happy to have earned being able to check off another box when it comes to being more organized and deliberate in taking care of myself…even if I couldn’t seem to get there without the kicking and screaming. But as truly as I’m pleased to have reached the 3-pair Medal of Merit, this week has also had me wholly and unexpectedly perplexed by what drives those who buy a new pair (or two) at least one or twice a month. BOGO anyone? Yeah, you know who you are.


Why so many? What’s the feed? How many pair can you wear at once? And in all fairness, I do understand and accept that shoes, as a concept, have infinite incarnations in serving infinitely specific purposes. Steel-toed construction boots, ballet slippers, loafers, tennis shoes are all good examples of the variety. If you think about it, aren’t the scuba divers flippers just another form of a shoe? I can genuinely marvel at all the design and production effort that goes into making one type of shoe or another. Decisions are made and materials purchased for the launch. Infinitely subtle changes in the look of the product get argued about in meetings in the shoe capitals around the world. You don’t stumble into making shoes. You decide to.

NYC Cop and Homeless ManBut this week I also saw the story about the New York City policeman who provided a bare-footed homeless man with socks and a new pair of winter boots. Whoop, there it is…another form of shoes! Long story short: Cop sees; Cop decides. Cop buys boots. Cops helps bare foot homeless guy put them on. Wow. Human decides. Humanity wins.

But wait, there’s more. There’s an after-story you may not have heard. Several hours later, the homeless man is spotted, barefoot. The running consensus is the old guy sold his valuable new boots for cash. Back to square one…or is it?

sleeping homeless man

The thought of it…the seeming futility of the cops decision and effort made me want to pewk. But from the homeless guys point of view, maybe protecting the foot was pretty low on his priority list. So too, like Officer DePrimo, the old man made his decision and he made it, in the bitter cold of a NYC night. In either case, them each making their own decisions was, exactly as it should be. Personally, I’m encouraged to see such moments of moral and ethical clarity when it comes to being the one who puts ‘shoes’ on the feet of others. I’ve stepped up. But then, it’s up to the other to do the standing up. We can encourage them, but it’s theirs to next, walk – just as it should be. No special passes on this one. Everybody skates. Skates – there it goes again, a whole other form of shoes we haven’t even talked about. Enough already. Let’s step in a different direction. Now, to the poem…

Cranky Old Man

Cranky Old Man

What do you see nurses? . . .. . .What do you see?

What are you thinking .. . when you’re looking at me?

A cranky old man, . . . . . .not very wise,

Uncertain of habit .. . . . . . . .. with faraway eyes?

Who dribbles his food .. . … . . and makes no reply.

When you say in a loud voice . .’I do wish you’d try!’

Who seems not to notice . . .the things that you do.

And forever is losing . . . . . .. . . A sock or shoe?

Who, resisting or not . . . … lets you do as you will,

With bathing and feeding . . . .The long day to fill?

Is that what you’re thinking?. .Is that what you see?

Then open your eyes, nurse .you’re not looking at me.

I’ll tell you who I am . . . . .. As I sit here so still,

As I do at your bidding, .. . . . as I eat at your will.

I’m a small child of Ten . .with a father and mother,

Brothers and sisters .. . . .. . who love one another

A young boy of Sixteen . . . .. with wings on his feet

Dreaming that soon now . . .. . . a lover he’ll meet.

A groom soon at Twenty . . . heart gives a leap.

Remembering, the vows .. .. .that I promised to keep.

At Twenty-Five, now . . . . .I have young of my own.

Who need me to guide . . . And a secure happy home.

A man of Thirty . .. . . . . My young now grown fast,

Bound to each other . . .. With ties that should last.

At Forty, my young sons .. .have grown and are gone,

But my woman is beside me . . to see I don’t mourn.

At Fifty, once more, .. …Babies play ’round my knee,

Again, we know children . . . . My loved one and me.

Dark days are upon me . . . . My wife is now dead.

I look at the future … . . . . I shudder with dread.

For my young are all rearing .. . . young of their own.

And I think of the years . . . And the love that I’ve known.

I’m now an old man . . . . . . .. and nature is cruel.

It’s jest to make old age . . . . . . . look like a fool.

The body, it crumbles .. .. . grace and vigor, depart.

There is now a stone . . . where I once had a heart.

But inside this old carcass . A young man still dwells,

And now and again . . . . . my battered heart swells

I remember the joys . . . . .. . I remember the pain.

And I’m loving and living . . . . . . . life over again.

I think of the years, all too few . . .. gone too fast.

And accept the stark fact . . . that nothing can last.

So open your eyes, people .. . . . .. . . open and see.

Not a cranky old man .

Look closer . . . . see .. .. . .. …. . ME!!

~ – ~

BACK STORY: When an old man died in the geriatric ward of a nursing home in an Australian country town, it was believed that he had nothing left of any value.

Later, when the nurses were going through his meager possessions, they found this poem. Its quality and content so impressed the staff that copies were made and distributed to every nurse in the hospital.

One nurse took her copy to Melbourne. The old man’s sole bequest to posterity has since appeared in the Christmas editions of magazines around the country and appearing in mags for Mental Health. A slide presentation has also been made based on his simple, but eloquent, poem.

And this old man, with nothing left to give to the world, is now the author of this ‘anonymous’ poem we’ve just witnessed. Does it get any more real than that?


My request of myself this week is to act the next time Circumstance presents me with an opportunity to put shoes (figuratively or literally) on someone I’ve stumbled across in my daily travels. And are there really any coincidences? I think not. But wait there’s more. The back story here is: doing something like putting shoes on someone elses life does more to help me than anything else either one of us could do on our own. My challenge? Somehow, someway, I’m going to shoe someone this week. My Soul needs it. For all I know, yours may need it too. So the next time you’re presented with something uncomfortable in your life, do something loving to it. If I’m doing the same thing where I am knowing you’re there, doing the same, we have a chance to be a great nation.

Shoe someone what you stand for. Our collective Soles depend on it.

Until then,



Read More About It:


Geeky, but oddly interesting ‘read’. See THE ROLE OF THE SHOE IN THE BIBLE by JACOB CHINITZ:


My hearty thanks to Todd K. for sharing the Cranky Old Man poem. We don’t see each other very often, but it’s cool. The point is, we both know the other one is out there…ever ready. As I’ve said in the close of many e-mails between us, I am so lucky to be on the Planet the same time he is. Who has friends like that? How cool. So thanks to TK. Regards.

PHOTO CREDITS, ATTRIBUTIONS and SOURCE REFERENCES: 000-3d-model-ArchaeoSysRmRomanShoesVol1A000:; shoes-ath-001:; Right Hand Turn Sign:; Man+vintage+suit+shopping+window+fedora:; 3 Panel Interview by Glassdoor:; Surgical Shoe Covers:; detroit-street-abandoned-covered-shoes:; Officer DePrimo and Homeless Man:—officer-gives-boots-to-homeless-man-kindness-sparks-online-sensation; a sleeping homeless man:,homeless/Interesting; an-act-of-kindness-first-tap-shoes:—first-tap-shoes

Shoe *” in French, Jewish, Hawaiian, Potawatomi – common intellectual property except for Potawatomi reference – SOURCE:

Cranky Old Man (originally by Phyllis McCormack; adapted by Dave Griffith):

shoes-ath-001 inset

## –


About dan4kent

Born and raised in the Midwest, Dan lives in the Chicagoland area. With a grown son from a previous marriage, he has since built a committed relationship of 34 years with his partner Rick, the Love of his Life. Having written his whole life, he blogged the past 7-years because he has to write…he can’t help it. Know the feeling? There’s ‘good‘ to be found in all of it. “If all I do is leave someone (or something) better than I found them, then I’ve done my part. Thanks for letting me grace your screen, if only for a little while.”
This entry was posted in Hope, Humor, Life, Life Lessons, Love, News and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to SO SHOE ME

  1. John says:

    Dan, I’ve missed reading your ‘soleful’ posts but not as much as the few chances for us to commune in person or over the phone. Having just returned from a trip to the Philippines, where Imelda Marcos is known to have owned 2700 pairs of shoes, not over a lifetime but all at once. Yet the mainstay of the average Filipino is a dusty pair of sandals, in various forms. Having grown up in tennis shoes, I think they should be the national dress code, along with denim jeans and T-shirts. But ‘over there’ I mostly wore sandals…to the mall, the bank, or just up the street to get a local bite to eat. I must admit, as a guy I see shoes in a utilitarian light. I’ve surmised that the most anyone needs is one good pair of something, although it’s nice to have 8-9 pair, each befitting some special purpose. Sandals aren’t worn in winter. Tennis shoes not to a funeral. And so forth. But the topic of shoes is my favorite analogy for one of my life observations and beliefs, and with this I close, Understanding one another seems to be paramount for most people in relationships, and so communication – open and honest – is lauded and even insisted. But I think acceptance, not understanding, is much more important in the course of human relations. When I walk into a closet and see 50-60 pairs of shoes, many of which I’m convinced are worn maybe only once a year, I just can’t understand that penchant of the person to whom they belong. But that’s Ok. I can accept it. Shoes remind me of the need to accept others even when, or especially when, I can’t understand them. It’s now a much lighter stroll, both for me and those with whom I’m blessed to meet along the way.

    • dan4kent says:

      JOHN!! Welcome back state-side. Having just returned from another 12-hour shift, I’m now smiling at your opening pun (no worse than any of mine), I appreciated your perspective on Philippino culture as it relates to protecting our feet…no matter the time zone. Here’s to lighter strolls and the prospect of sharing a little bit of the same path at some point in the future. You matter. The Planet is better. Your ever Friend in Chicago. Dan

  2. purplemary54 says:

    I saw that story about the homeless man, too. I heard on the news today that he said he’d hidden them because they were so valuable. It was still a wonderful thing for that officer to do. Just when I’ve lost almost all faith in humanity, someone comes along and proves me wrong (thank goodness).

    Me? All I need are some Converse high tops. I’ve got other shoes for other reasons, but if I had to choose one pair forever, black Converse high tops.

    • dan4kent says:

      PM54 — Ditto on the ‘lost almost all faith” bit. But why am I surprised when it’s another human that restores my faith in…humanity. Makes sense. Who better than each of us – wherever we are. On that night, it was Officer DiPrimo. Next time, if I’m lucky, it’ll be me. On other front, I so second your selection of the Converse high tops. They too have been on my feet during several chapters of Life thus far. Glad you’re there. You add to me. Thank you. Dan

  3. Dan,
    Your words wear Mercury’s winged shoes in sending this message.

    There is so much to think about here. Especially in how we, as a society, tend to look at and judge people based on what we see, need, think, experience, etc. and take action toward others and on their behalf without ever really trying to see their viewpoint or walking in their shoes.

    Perhaps the shoeless, homeless man has feet so calloused and toughened and has walked barefoot so long that the boots and socks weren’t what served him well and perhaps he bartered or sold them to get another layer of warm clothes or gave them to another who he felt may have needed them more. Maybe he used it for things we frown upon, who knows. His choices don’t negate the actions of the cop who took action. As you say, they each got to choose and that’s as it should be.


    • dan4kent says:

      Kina — Mercury? Whoah…no pressure there, eh? Seriously…to hear you turning the subject-matter over and over in your mind is gratifying. Be well this week. Dan

What do you think? Let me know.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s