In 6th grade, everyone wore embarrassingly expensive shoes. Everyone but me, that is. I had pleather Payless shoes that had no known brand affiliation whatsoever. My classmates called me out on this. My classmates, whose parents sold their houses and opted to live in abandoned boxcars in order to pay for their children’s overpriced Nike Airs, that is.

“You should get some Air Jordans or some Agassi Airs,” they would tell me. I knew sneakers were important. I felt this truth in my bones even though I had no clue who this “Agassi” guy was, let alone why he felt the need to claim my stinky feet in his name.

I eventually got a pair of L. A. Gears. “More like L. A. Queers,” my classmates chuckled. British Knights would have been acceptable, but I did not have British Knights. Reeboks were in as well, and would soon unleash their line of “Pumps” upon the world. But I did not have Reeboks either.┬áTruth be told, L. A. Gear shoes were actually alright, status-wise. I think my peers just thought I was a nerd. They were right, but I was determined to prove them wrong.

So I began designing my own shoes. Because that was obviously the least lame thing I could possibly do.

I began to draw shoes that would require multiple cows to give their lives to supply me with enough leather to actually realize my creations. Which is probably why I never actually realized my creations. The cows were just not willing to lay down their lives for my designs.

My classmates, on the other hand, were surprisingly impressed. They had no idea I could draw. Frankly, I was a little surprised myself.

In an efffort to outrun (pun intended) the industry’s creative ambitions, I designed shoes that could have furthered the American arm race. Had President George H. W. Bush seen my creations, I suspect he would have supplied them to the soldiers who participated in the Gulf War.

“Read my lips,” he would have said. “These shoes are weaponized. A simple roundhouse kick to the face will incapacitate and decapitate your opponents.”

But my shoes were never produced in any capacity – no prototypes, no mass productions, etc.

It’s too bad, really. I could have been a contender, I think.

None of this really explains, however, why I find it difficult to go shoe shopping with my wife. I think she would be truly happy as a centipede, wearing 50 pairs of shoes at once. In being a human, she really missed her biological calling. But that’s okay. I think she is fine with wearing only one pair of shoes at a time.

If I could time travel, perhaps I could convince my sixth grade self to design a pair just for her.