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For love of the glove


My dad has a strange fondness for shoes.

I don’t mean that in a bad way. He’s not, to my knowledge, a podophile or foot fetishist.

He just likes shoes. A lot.

Or, more accurately, he likes buying shoes.

As far back as I can remember, the man was dropping coin on footwear like Imelda Marcos on a bender.

Don’t misunderstand: It’s not a fashion thing. My dad’s so not about fashion. Just one look at his beloved DayGlo attire proves that. The man could go to a luau, and the natives would ask him to turn down his shirt. There’s bright, and there’s self-illuminated, and he leans toward the latter.

In his case, his fondness of footwear is simply practical.

He explained years ago that he’s always had trouble finding shoes to fit. He wears a 13 — a 12 1/2 in some brands, 13 1/2 in others — and back in the dark ages when we actually shopped in, well, shops (you know, the things quaintly referred to as “brick and mortar” today), stores rarely carried anything larger than a 12. He’d have to cram his planks into too-small shoes. So whenever dad (often literally) tripped over a pair of 13s, regardless of the style — sneaker, wing-tip, brogue, boot, flip-flop or even a pair of those gosh-awful tuckus-trimming rocker shoes — well, dad found himself physically unable to pilot his big-ol’ gunboats past without walking away with another pair.

Now, of course, dad can fire up the Interwebs and mouse his way to a pair of size-13s without breaking a sweat.

But old habits die hard.

I have relatively tiny tootsies — 9, 9 1/2 — so I’m never on the prowl.

I was reminded of dad's footwear fondness several weeks ago, before the expected onset of cold weather, which, of course, hasn’t set upon us yet. I stumbled upon a pair of bike gloves online and, despite my trepidation, decided to plunk down a couple of bucks to add them to my pile.

I don’t like buying bike stuff online. I prefer to patronize my local bike shops. And in the case of gloves, I like actually to slip my mitts in said mitts before pulling the trigger.

But the price was right, and I was weak, and the kicker — a tag that described it as the “best glove in the world” — sealed the deal. How could I go wrong with the best glove in the world?

Mind you, I didn’t really need another pair of gloves. I mentally took stock: I have a light pair for cool rides, two pair of liner gloves, a “cold-weather” glove, a “really cold-weather” glove, a waterproof pair, a windproof pair, a leather pair, two or three fingerless pair, a day-glo pair (take that, dad!). I can layer, bringing my total possible combinations to something like 2,457,200. In other words, I already had plenty of gloves.

But just like dear-old dad and his footwear, I couldn’t resist another pair.

I’ve only worn them around the house. It figures the winter I’m actually looking forward to a bit of cold weather, we have record highs, and the “best gloves in the world” sit there, proverbially giving me the finger.

Oh, well. I’m certain I’ll get to try them out soon enough, but not, I’m sure, before dad buys another pair of shoes or two.


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