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In My Opinion


Stealing’s understandable when the (bowling) shoe’s on the other foot

By Tracy Lee Curtis
Tracy Lee Curtis
Tracy Lee Curtis is a humorist, writer and speaker. She writes family humor for the Charlotte Observer. Her column appears each Sunday.

In line for shoes at a bowling alley, a woman next to us is saying someone stole her personal shoes. My friend grabs my arm and says she’ll be so mad if someone takes her shoes – her leather boots from New York that fit her perfectly.

I’ll be mad too. I’m wearing my favorite leather riding boots, and I’m not about to just let them gallop out the door with some stranger. And why would anyone do that? Doesn’t the phrase “walk a mile in my shoes” scare everybody?

Just this week I’ve been to Firestone, Autobell, Costco, the dentist and the vet. Walk a mile in my shoes, and you’re gonna need to sell them for money.

They hand me my pair and I’m reminded why nobody steals bowling shoes. They look like saddle shoes gone Bozo – with an extra wide toe. They’re like two-toned clown shoes.

This prompts my girlfriend to quickly hide the shoes we wore in. She wraps our footwear in her coat, hides it under a table, then puts her bag atop the heap, making this the first time I’ve ever seen anyone hide her coat under their purse.

After game one, my youngest treats dinner like a pizza-eating contest, and let’s just say it ends with the two of us in a bathroom stall, with me compassionately muttering something along the lines of “told ya so.”

I grab him and my coat, and we leave, and only when we get home do I realize … we’ve still got on our bowling shoes.

How is this possible? Not only have I left my leather boots behind, but I’ve managed to steal a pair of shoes sure to get me recruited by Ringling Brothers. And bowling shoes are like ballet pointe shoes and ski boots – you can only wear them to do one ridiculous thing.

But … going out to get the paper the next morning, they’re the only shoes near the door to put on. What will the neighbors think? It’d be sort of a remix of the walk of shame, when you’ve stolen the shoes you’re seen walking in.

Or maybe it’s the walk of lame – where it appears you’re just getting in from somewhere, but where you’ve been isn’t cool. I can hear the guy next door, “Just getting in from a big night of bowling, huh?”

I’ll get the paper later. Besides, the last thing I need is for the bowling alley to refuse to take back the shoes because the bottoms are scuffed, and then I have to BUY them.

And then I look like some crazy mom, who lets her kid eat till he’s sick, loses expensive boots, only to steal shoes that can only be worn if we join a bowling league or work for Barnum & Bailey.

Yeah, yeah … if the shoe fits …
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