Flip Flops, Shoes and Christmas Stockings

Flip flops are NOT cool. You never see a pic of someone wearing flip flops and think to yourself, “Wow, that guy is cool!” Never, not once, because flip flops are not cool.
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I was cool, once and only once … I was playing a charity gig with Brian West at Popcorn Zoo Park in NJ, it was a rock thing and Brian had put together a band of good players for the date. No rehearsals, just step in there and play. I was using my FBB fretted 7 string bass (which is bad-a**ed all by itself), wearing all black and I just looked cool, for the very first and only time in my life.
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I’ll tell you who is cool … grandson Hudson is cool! That kid has cool coming out of his pores, Joe Bonamassa kind of cool (Google search if you don’t know who Joe Bonamassa is). James and Shauna (Hudson’s parents) are going to have their hands full with this kid when he gets into his middle teens, too much cool to repress …
I never wore flip flops, not even once, before moving to Georgia. Because flip flops aren’t cool. But once I got here I started seeing flip flops everywhere, even more so than when I lived in Point Pleasant at the Jersey Shore. I diligently stuck to my shoes/sneakers and didn’t give in to the flip flop trend. I even began exploring new sock options, as I detailed in this blog post. But flip flops? No way …
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And then we went to Destin, FL for vacation last year at Thanksgiving. We stay right on the beach, so you walk out the door and onto the sand. There are some “boardwalk” type walkways, which can be a touch uncomfortable with bare feet, and if you go onto the beach to catch the sunrise, the sand can be cold and a bit uncomfortable without foot protection. I gave in, folded like a cheap suit and bought some flip flops. Not cheap ones like the kind you get at Walmart, but Reef brand flip flops. Oh, BTW, they cost about the same price as a decent pair of shoes. For a sole and a strap that sticks in your toes. Flip flops.
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We’ve already clearly established that I’m not, by ANY definition, cool. Except for one time, and I couldn’t argue someone making the case that I’m mistaken about any errant coolness. And my brothers would immediately agree that I’m not cool (but who cares what those dopes think?) (let me tell you, they’re no bargain, either) (no matter what, I’m cooler than those characters) (jerks). So I conceded to the flip flop cause for one reason, and that was to protect my, generally nasty, feet from sand and boardwalk abuse. And what do you know? I liked the flops, cool or not.
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From that time, until today, December 6, 2017, I have  been a nearly 100% compliant flop-wearer.  I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve had to resort to real shoes, mostly because getting fancy-dressed for one of Sheila’s work events does not lend itself to the flops. Oh, and when it make-believe snowed here in Georgia last year (what Georgians call a snowstorm folks in Jersey call “Monday“) I had to resort to actual protected footwear.
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Now that it’s winter here in Georgia (also known as “April” in Jersey), I need to get adequate footwear for what is projected to be a “very cold” winter, meaning it might hit 40 degrees for a couple of days. To be clear, I don’t care about the temperature too much, but I think Sheila has already made enough concessions in our marriage  and doesn’t need to be explaining the odd quirks of her idiot husband. (My brothers have always thought I was an idiot) (Yeah, like they have anything to say about that) (dopes)
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I ordered a pair of shoes from Reef, the same joint that makes my flops, in the hopes that my tootsies will forgive me for covering them up. The shoes are fine, but where is that gentle breeze wafting across the tops of my toes? Gone, covered up like prisoners in a maximum security facility. I have even started going to a pedicure place, where some little lady that I don’t understand fixes my ugly feet and makes them flop-worthy. (Can you imagine being the little lady and seeing me and my big hooves walking through the door?)
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All of this talk about flops and shoes and socks makes me realize that I no longer have a Christmas stocking. I don’t think I’ve had one for at least 15 or more years, maybe even longer. And does a 66 year old guy really NEED a Christmas stocking?
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When we were kids our Christmas stockings always had an orange in the toe, usually a (one, 1, singular) walnut, a box of crayons (we melted them onto the radiators, turning them into rainbow steam generators) (I never remember getting in trouble for that), maybe a chocolate ball wrapped in foil, sometimes an el-cheapo toy of some sort, and a candy cane. I’m sure there was more, but that’s what comes to mind. The stockings were always put by our headboards, not downstairs. This might have been a means to allow Mom & Dad to get downstairs ready for the great present opening process! In retrospect, I remember always being overwhelmed by the amount of stuff under the tree … we came from a poor home (by any definition) and it was only years later when I finally came to realize how much of a sacrifice our parents must have made to give us a Merry Christmas!
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So, maybe I don’t need a stocking this year … so many good gifts have already been given to me that a Christmas stocking may be the 1 gift too many! I have been blessed with one of the greatest years of my life, and I hope that you all have the very best Merry Christmas, too! Happy Holidays from both Sheila & me!
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