An Essay on our Sole Possessions by J Christian Lawrence
This morning, I set out to walk along the road to the Globe. Suddenly I was accosted by the most rotund of burglars I’d ever seen. Fat Jack Falstaff. He bumbled out an alleyway like a swollen bowling ball slung into the street by a slow arm. Pinning himself on my feet, he leered over me and grinned and said:
– By my troth, thou bacon-fed knave! It seems ye hate my youth!
I was rather confused: I’d not eaten bacon for at least a month; and this moon-man rising before me was quite old indeed. I explained this to him quickly, being atop the point of his dagger.
– On, bacon, on! Said he. I was born with hair and beard white and belly paunched and legs patient as the memorable pachyderm. I’m younger than ye! I mean to rob ye, old one!
Now his sweat seemed to lard the earth and make a butter of it. I feared to slip me onto his point, and so I emptied the contents of my purse: naught but a few dry playbills and two true-pennies…
– Have you such little coin, old one? He asked me pityingly. Is it from the nursing home you’ve a-wandered to meet Fat Jack?
– Why yes, young man, from the nursing home, that’s right! (what a man will say upon a knife!). You see, escaping that neglectful place, I’ve spent all my monies on these shoes here, with which I’ve walked to you, sir.
– Then they’ve walked you to their new feet, old one!
At this time, he relieved me of my expensive shoes. Nike Dunk Highs. I stood barefoot in the muddy street as this fustilug squeezed his fat trotters into them – staining the white with mud; stretching the foam; smothering the swoosh; fraying the laces and turning a-back the tongue.
He got them on like a clown stuffing into a wee car.
– (posing) Old one, what think ye? Think ye these shiny shoons become me? What’s wrong, old one? Fat cat’s got yer tongue?
Angrily, I protested this injustice. And of how far I’d walked, and so now the difficulty before me – to walk barefoot back again so long.
– (taking my arm) I’ll walk you some of the way, old one. But be of good cheer! This is not thy dunnest day; that’s the last. And this is not that. Yes, I’ve removed yer shiny shoons. But consider this, the soles that stamp the earth makes familiar the soul its birth. Do we come into this world shoe’d, garbed in Guccis, or nicked in Nikes?
– No… I suppose not…
– And when ye wore them they worried ye. A spot of dirt here. A speck of scat there. Dirtying them would make a mud of day.
– Yes… that’s true…
– Nike’s expense expends the road of life. Possessions shape our paths a worrisome. Now would anyone think of robbing ye, being robbed?
– No, certainly not.
– Then being robbed, I’ve robbed ye of being robbed. Shoeless, ye nay worry the loss of shoes. Possession-less, ye need not pant to possess.
I left the fat knight and went home. I sat in my armchair and sipped my tea and thought on what he’d said.
Certainly, adventures await us outside our doors. If we dare depart our doors. Often what’s around the next corner is not what we’d expect. As I sit here, I’m reminded of that character of Tolkien’s who was swept out without his favorite walking stick. Hobbits don’t wear shoes. What need I for them?
I was Nike-less but somehow happier.
I later inquired after that fat burglar. Apparently, he had sold my shoes and used the proceeds for drinks with others of those robbed – thus does he impart wisdoms and witticisms to a Nike-nicked-world.
Cheers to your Sunday morning…
William, Shakespeare. Henry IV Part I. New York: Bantam Books, 1964. Print.