I polish them up for posh occasions and wear work boots and wellies whenever the going gets really tough and so my solitary pair of shoes last me a good long time. When I get my new shoes, I put the old ones in the bin and walk away.
I always wear the same brand of shoes. Dr. Martens Classic 1462 – Black – three eyelets – absolutely no yellow stitching. It’s a great shoe and, no, this is not a sponsored link.
Here’s the point.
Last week when my newest-of-the-new shoes arrived, I started wondering how I had ever become so attached to this particular shoe and the wondering took me back to my first encounter with a Doc Marten shoe.
I think I had actually blocked this painful and stupid memory from my brain. Anyway, here it is, in all its truth and inanity.
Christmas, 1987, my new girl would be expecting a nice Christmas present. She’s my wife now and some things don’t ever change. Anyway, hints had been dropped about a nice pair of brown Doc Marten shoes which could be found in the famous ‘Shelleys’ shoe shop in Sloane Square, London. We lived in London then so it wasn’t, like, a ferry trip across the Irish Sea or anything.
So I went to Shelley’s - a great shop - ('still not a sponsored link) and bought the shoes off a very nice girl behind a very nice oaken wood counter.
(Here’s where I do something remarkably silly. Look away if you are squeamish.)
The girl gave me two receipts – I think that’s what threw me. One receipt, I can handle but two? I needed to keep the receipt… receipts… in case the shoes didn’t fit (or fitted an ugly step-sister, or something) but how the hell do I deal with two receipts?
There was a stapler lying on the nice-girls counter. Not just any stapler. A powerful, silver, staple-gun-type-thingie.
In a flash, I had it – I would staple the two receipts together, for safe keeping. After politely asking "May I?" I placed the two receipts on the polished hardwood Sloane Square counter and lined the gun up to staple them together.
What had I been thinking? This powerful staple gun had no ‘back’ on it – no platform for the staple to be pushed into. The staple – and my two receipts - would be embedded into the wonderful oaken-wood countertop. Much embarrassment would undoubtedly ensue.
I smiled winningly at the girl.
Then I quickly (it had to be quick) picked up the two receipts and aligned them both along the outside edge of my index finger. Then, drawing back, I fired a single thick stainless steel staple through the two receipts and on into the soft depths of my digit.
The girl behind the preserved oaken wood counter recoiled in horror. What was this guy? A suicide-by-staple-gun fanatic or something? For my own part, I panicked, screamed then danced around a little – my receipts fluttering gently in the air. The whole shop stood and watched.
In an attempt to regain control of the situation, I slipped my finger nail under the end of the fully-embedded staple and pulled it out. It hadn’t folded over on itself inside my flesh – which was kind of good.
The staple was followed out of my finger by the mother-and-father of all blood-gushers.
I grabbed a tissue off the pristine oak counter (in retrospect, what a well-equipped counter that was), wrapped up my finger, apologised and simultaneously bled profusely, then left. My finger swelled up like a big swollen up thingie and bled weepingly for most of that day. My wife-to-be loved the shoes and the blood stained receipt from Shelleys is now a treasured family heirloom.
And from that time on, I have worn only Dr. Martens shoes.