July 28, 2002

My Life of Crime


My Life of Crime

I guess it is a sign of 'maturity' when you grow attached to things that are old, worn, faded, torn...things that should be replaced with newer, more efficient replacements. Things that you refuse to part with because they have served you well and have been your inanimate companions over the course of years, perhaps decades if you are lucky. Too often, in fact inevitably if given enough time, they will be lost to rot, friction, rust, in the end vanishing down that inexorable slope of order on its way to chaos.

My old boots have been with me now for almost 10 years. I have taken good care of them, sno-sealing, polishing, and cleaning them. Made in Italy, the exact style is no longer available. They can't be replaced.

Our son came in absolutely drenching soaking wet yesterday after being caught out in a glorious storm; it pleased me to watch him and the dog saturated in the joy of an unexpected and much needed soaking, walking home in the knee-high pasture, barely visible through sheets of warm rain. Ah, a kodak moment...until I realized that he was wearing MY BOOTS, and they were way wetter than I have allowed them to get in years. One step closer to their final days. And I begin to think again about shopping for boots. More 'maturity' symptoms here: one thought leads to another, and we are back in the mid seventies, with a boot story:

As the John Lennon bespeckled bearded young Biology guy at the community college, I was seen rather widely around the county with his entourage of granola types, many from the Edgar Cayce Farm in Cedar Springs, out stalking the wild asparagus. Turns out there is a town cop who doesn't much like 'dirty hippies', which I guess I was, by association, and he had stopped me on a couple of occasions in town for very minor 'decal out of date' things, or for nothing in particular. I was just the least bit paranoid, but nothing really worth mentioning. Until one day....

As I left the Anatomy class I had just finished teaching, I was stopped at the door by two well-dressed gentlemen who 'wanted to have a private conversation with me'. Cool. Insurance salesmen, investment brokers, somesuch. We went back to my office and closed the door for a quick speil from these guys just out trying to make a buck, then I would get on to a committee meeting.

"Mr. First, we are investigators from the town Police Department, and we're here to ask you a few questions". Well, that got my attention. "A pair of boots was stolen yesterday from Modern Shoe Store across from the Post Office, and the owner has described the likely thief as someone who fits your description". Uh-oh. Deep do-do. "We know that you were at the scene of the crime because your vehicle was parked in front of the store at the time of the incident."

Okay. Think brain, think brain, think! "Let me see if I have this straight: I'm sure you know that my car was parked there at that time because I paid the parking meter fine...which I suppose I stopped to do before making my get-away with a $20 pair of boots while wearing the $100 pair of boots I am wearing now. This is ridiculous!"

"Mr. First, no body is accusing you of anything. We just need you to come down to the station and appear in a line-up".

Uh, I don't think so. "I am not going to any line-up, and if this **#$@@ continues to harass me, I will sue for defamation of character, and I will OWN ME A SHOE STORE!" This seemed at the moment like it was something I was watching on Perry Mason...couldn't be real life. Could it? I was glad I had seen enough lawyer-sleuth television to know how to play the part of the indignant accused.

They relented. "If you won't come for a line-up, we will need to take a picture and have it available to the shoe store owner and other witnesses. We will get in touch with you if further questioning is needed in the future". I repeated my threats, they left, and I never heard anything more about it. Until...

We moved away from the little town, but returned for a visit to the area several years later. While walking downtown, I ran into an acquaintance of mine, a lawyer who had become town mayor. We chatted a bit, and he said "I was thinking about you just the other day. Did you know that your picture is in the town Mug Book?"



If a couple of guys in suits turn up at my door here on Goose Creek, I'm diving out the back window and making for th' hills. They won't take me alive. And if they ice me, I request that they bury me with my old boots...the ones I paid for...on my cold ol' feet.

Posted by fred1st at July 28, 2002 07:37 AM
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