I don’t cry easily. I can keep a stiff-upper-lip in situations that reduce other men to tears. But I’ll never forget the miserable Saturday several decades ago when I stood all alone at our local rubbish dump, and wept …
We were having a clean-out, you see. Trying to simplify our lives. Trying to free-up some space. And I was happily carting a trailerload of Cooney junk to the tip. It was mostly useless stuff we’d kept back from previous clean-outs (like a busted lawnmower, a coffee table with only one leg, and my once-prized set of very old Reader’s Digests).
But when a slightly-scuffed pair of platform shoes went off the end of the trailer and under the cruel blade of that bulldozer, I broke down.
Oh, the memories …
I was born a shorty, you understand. And I will die a shorty. And it’s never really bothered me. But there was a moment in my life when, thanks to those platform shoes, I was actually on a par with my fellow humans.
That was my decade, the 70s! And those shoes were in style for at least six months – along with my extra-wide ties and the flared maroon trousers (which my wife later cut up to make shorts for my sons. Or was it sleeping bags? I can’t remember …).
I paid a fortune for those beautiful shoes. I knew them by name and loved them like friends. Their chunky built-up heels gave me a giant ego-boost as I eyeballed people for the first time ever. And when the fickle finger of fashion decreed I could no longer wear them and still remain cool, I came back to earth with a thud.
As I waved them goodbye at that smelly old dump – first the left-foot (my favourite) and then the right – I wiped the tears from my eyes and prayed that, by some miracle, we three might meet again in heaven.
But, standing there in my gumboots, I knew that life would never be the same …
JOHN COONEY, GRAPEVINE’S FOUNDER, SUSPECTS THAT PLATFORM SHOES MAY SOON BE MAKING A COMEBACK. IF YOU’VE GOT A SPARE PAIR (SIZE 6½) COULD HE PLEASE TRY THEM ON?