Sam the shoe, as the name suggests was a shoe. Sam liked being a shoe; she just wish she was a different shoe. In her mind every other shoe was better off than her. She was a “running” shoe, but I say running in quotations because she was a Velcro running shoe, and no one with Velcro shoes does a lot of running, especially Sam’s owner. Her owner rode a motorized wheelchair, which frustrated Sam because she rarely got to feel the earth. It was always just a step or two on the actual ground and then she’d be stationary on the motorized wagon. Sam was frustrated because she had so many skills she could never use and many more that she would never discover because of being stuck on this chair. She felt trapped; she felt limited; she felt like she was wasting her life. What made it worse for Sam is her owner only had one leg, which meant she had one foot… I’m sure you figured that out. Shoes typically have a partner to keep them company. But not Sam; she was all alone. Sam didn’t know where her partner ended up. She imagined it was given to someone else with one foot or perhaps the other shoe was still in the box yet to be used. Sam wished she was still in her box because it was better to have hope of a good life than to be stuck in one that was miserable. Sam hated her life. Not only did she look plain, but her life was plain. The grass was not only greener on the other side, for Sam, her side didn’t even have any grass just the metal of the wheelchair.
On one very monotonous evening, Sam the shoe was riding around downtown when she came to a stop near a line of people getting ready to go into see a Broadway play. Sam loved the theatre… or at least the idea of the theatre. She had never actually been because her owner preferred watching movies and eating Fritos at home. Looking around, Sam noticed standing only a few feet away was the most beautiful pair of stilettos she had ever seen. Without meaning to she spoke out loud, “Holy-moley, you’re so beautiful. You’re so shiny and new.” The stilettos looked over at her. Embarrassed, Sam quickly said, “Sorry, it’s just I’ve never seen such beautiful shoes, and I‘m just so plain. I wish I was more like you.” The one stiletto casually responded, “Please, enjoy the view. We are beautiful.” Sam was surprised by the honesty and almost arrogance of the stiletto, but she was even more surprised when the stiletto continued, “Being beautiful sucks. You have no idea how much I would give to be ordinary. We’re stuck in a box for months for fear of us getting ruined. This is only our second time out of our box. We never get to do anything besides fancy nights out. You don’t know what I’d give to walk in a field and get covered in mud and to feel something besides cement and tile.” The second stiletto added, “Want to see how sore we can make our owner’s feet?” With that the two stilettos started to squeeze. “I bet I can cause more blisters than you,” announced the one stiletto. “I bet I can cause bigger ones,” said the second. As they continued squeezing, Sam’s owner started rolling down the street and she watched as the stilettos disappeared into the distance. Sam was dumbfounded by what she had just heard. The stilettos were so beautiful; she just assumed they were happy, but they were actually miserable… and kind of mean.
Sam’s owner then stopped in front of a hotdog cart, which was by a construction zone. Standing near the cart were a couple construction workers on their break. Sam admired the work boots. They were rugged and strong. Again, Sam accidentally spoke out loud, “I wish I was as tough as you.” The work boots overheard her and started laughing. “Tough? We’re not tough. We’re screwed,” said the one boot. “I hate being a work boot” said another boot. Sam was again surprised by this response. “Don’t you like being work boots?” “Like it? The word ‘work’ is in the title. I wish I was a vacation boot,” said the one boot. “I wish I was a stiletto,” said the other. “I wish I was so beautiful I was kept in a box rather than thrown into the back of a dirty truck. I get no respect. I’m just a work boot and that’s all people see me as.” The other work boots started to add in: “I hate the mud,” “I hate kicking things just because I’m steeled toed.” “I hate working in the rain.” “I hate working in the heat.” “I hate working.” As the boots continued to complain, Sam’s owner drove off leaving the complaints in the distance. Again, Sam was left dumbfounded by how much the work boots hated being work boots. She just assumed they were happy.
Sam’s owner stopped in a park to eat the hotdog. Just a few feet away a runner was stretching getting ready to go for a run. Sam looked at the sleek running shoes with their sleek designs and laces. Velcro was so 80s; Sam wished she had laces. The one running shoe saw Sam and called out to her, “Help me! Please, help me.” The other running shoe quipped “Shut up; you talking only makes this worse.” Sam asked, “What’s wrong?” The first running shoe cried, “Please stop me from running again.” Sam questioned “But you’re a running shoe. Don’t you enjoy running?” The shoe retorted, “It’s not the running; it’s the smell of his feet when he’s running. He has a foot odor problem.” The other shoe piped in, “It’s not the smell of the feet that gets me; it’s how he pees in the woods and he doesn’t spread his legs enough so we get all the back spray.” The first shoe questioned, “I thought that was rain.” “You’re dumber than I thought,” said the second shoe. Sam interrupted, “I don’t mean to be insensitive, but doesn’t running make you feel alive? Isn’t being a running shoe only worth being a running shoe if you get to run?” “Running is running. It’s nothing special. You clearly haven’t been out running before; it’s overrated.” Sam pointed out, “My owner can’t run because she only has one foot.” “Wow, what I wouldn’t give to be you. You have the dream life,” said the first shoe. “I’d pay to give you away,” said the second. “With the two of us there’s always a competition. Nothing is easy,” said the first shoe. “That’s what you think,” said the second. Just then the runner started to run and Sam could hear the running shoes fighting, “I’m winning.” “Now I’m winning.” “Now I’m winning.” “Now I’m winning.” “I hate you.”
Just then Sam’s owner drove them away from the running shoes. In the distance she heard the two shoes yelling, “I wish I was you Velcro girl!” It was very confusing for Sam. Her life was terrible… wasn’t it? Why would anyone want to be her? She started thinking back to the stilettos who didn’t like their life, the work boots who didn’t like their life and the running shoes who didn’t like their life or each other. Did anyone like his or her life? Was the whole point that life is just crap? As fate would have it, just then it started raining. Life really is crappy thought Sam. She was feeling pretty lousy when she noticed there was a person beside her walking at the same pace as the wheelchair. This person was wearing a pair of some pretty awful looking sandals… but the sandals were smiling from end to end and cheering, “Weeee!” Sam decided to ask them, “Are you okay?” “Absolutely. This is awesome,” exclaimed the sandal. “What’s so awesome? It’s raining and you’re going through puddles,” noted Sam. “I know right? Isn’t it great?” said the sandal. “You like this?” asked Sam. “I like everything,” cheered the sandal. “I love being a shoe… half of a shoe.” Sam was again confused, “I’ve never met anyone like you.” “Well there are two of us so you now have met two like us,” said the first sandal. “Hello,” said the other sandal. “Why are you so happy? Everyone else I’ve met hates being a shoe,” asked Sam. “Being a shoe is awesome!” Screamed the first shoe. “It’s awesome,” repeated the second. “It’s such a privilege,” cheered the first. “Privilege!” repeated the second. Sam was confused “It’s a privilege? We get used and eventually we get thrown out.” “Yeah, so it’s great to be used while we can,” said the first sandal. “Use me” repeated the second. “But how can you be so happy when you’re so…” Sam caught herself. “I’m what? Practical, wise, charming…” asked the first sandal. “Ugly,” piped in the second. “Yes that too. I’m very ugly,” said the first sandal. “You don’t mind that?” asked Sam. “Of course not. We used to be tires and it was great being a tire. I got to go places, help people, splash people on bikes. Now that I’m a shoe I get to go places, help people, splash people on bikes. I get a second chance to these great things. Other tires end up in the dump, but I get a second chance to have a purpose. I get to be useful,” said the first sandal. “I think that’s my problem,” said Sam. “I don’t feel very useful.” “How are you not useful? You’re being worn for a reason. Your owner chose you to be her shoe. Out of all the other shoes, she chose you. That’s an honor,” said the first sandal. “Honor,” repeated the second. “But I never get to be in the grass or run,” complained Sam. “Yeah, and you’ll never step in dog poop or accidentally squish bugs. You’re like a queen on a pedestal. How could you not be happy? Your life is great,” said the first sandal. Sam had never thought of it this way before. Just like she could see why the stilettos and work boots should be happy, the sandals could see why she should be happy. Maybe the only reason Sam and the others are not happy is because they choose to only see the bad in their situation. Maybe they’d be happy if they could just realize how great they actually had it. Life isn’t about what you’ve been given; it’s about what you do with it. Being a stiletto wasn’t easy; being a work boot isn’t easy. Nothing is easy, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be good.
As Sam was thinking about this she heard, “Oh, looks like we’re turning down a different path. Nice meeting you,” bellowed the first sandal. “Nice meeting you,” repeated the second. With that the two shoes quickly disappeared and all Sam had left as evidence of the meeting was the sound she heard in the distance of the two of them cheering, “Weee!”
Rev. Chad David, www.ChadDavid.ca, learning to love dumb people