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26 Nov

I have a story to tell. It isn’t a story about some defining moment in my life. In fact, it’s probably something that I won’t even remember for a very long time. But, it is a story that needs to be told. I’ll begin by setting the scene.

It was Thursday night. It was dark. The wind was blowing and the rain was fierce, leaving the ground soaked with deceptively deep pools of water everywhere. We were in the midst of a quest. A quest to return some DVDs to Xtra-vision. For what seemed like hours now, we had battled our way through the merciless conditions.

Scene set. Story time.

About halfway to our destination, I began to notice just how cold and wet I felt. My feet were particularly effected. In fact, my right foot seemed far worse off than my left. Looking down, my left shoe appeared quite dry, whereas my right shoe was soaked through. My whole fucking shoe was just filled with water. My sock was soaked and my toes were numb. I was minutes away from death.

At this point I decided that I couldn’t go any further, at least not while I felt like the only thing covering my shoe was a very moist cake. We decided to retreat to Tesco while I built up the will to go on.

It was outside Tesco when my girlfriend had an idea. I could get a plastic bag, remove my sock and shoe and waterproof my foot with it. The idea seemed absurd, there was no way I would lower myself to such a level! Of course, it wasn’t long before I realised that if I didn’t do it, I’d have to continue the rest of the journey terrified of getting trench-foot. And that shit is so not cool.

So I did it. I walked straight up to the check-out line and boldly asked the cashier if I could have a bag.

“Sure,” he said, but I could almost hear him thinking, “what for though you fucking weirdo? You have no shopping.”

He actually gave me the bag without asking any questions, but he knew. Maybe it was the soft squelching that was following me everywhere, maybe it was the faint odour of foot trailing from me or maybe it was the small puddles that seemed to appear every time I took a step. I don’t know how, but the bastard knew.

Anyway, I composed myself and took the lift down to the bathroom, which was in the car park (What’s that about?) and locked myself into the (thankfully empty) stall. I stood for a while, examining my feet. The difference between the two was incredible. One was as black as the night, and the other was a light brown.

After my moment of pondering, I removed the shoe and sock from my foot. The sock was much worse than I had anticipated. There was a mysterious black streak along it and it was completely saturated. A braver person than myself would have relished in squeezing the water out (and subsequently have to wash their hands for the next two hours) but I couldn’t bear it. I was already ashamed enough.

I awkwardly dried my foot off with the hand-drier, sheathed it in its new, uncomfortable plastic home and once more put on my filthy sock and shoe. It was still uncomfortable and it rustled, but it was definitely an improvement. As well as the pleasure I had gained from no longer having a wet foot, I had another small delight. This idea (while hardly new, I’m not claiming to be the first to try it) needed a name. A name befitting its simple purpose and humbleness. I named it ‘The Poor Man’s Wellington’.

The lesson I’m trying to teach here is to not wear shoes with holes in them. Seriously, you can get away with it in the summer, but the moment the weather turns even slightly sour you will regret spending that extra money you had a month ago on beer, or games (Skyrim not included) or whatever other non-shoe-related activities you indulge in.

Don’t make the same mistake I did. Go, now, and buy yourself some new shoes. Don’t be forced to resort to the Poor Man’s Wellington.

Gavin

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