Of Jesus and Viscosity

OR: The Importance of Appropriate Footwear

Winter sucks.

Lets just get that straight outta the gate. Life is too short for winter and I feel angry and desperate by being trapped in steel-toed boots five months out of the year.  Hot clunky boots are hellish bunion birthing stink-sweaty vinegar gaseous toe bloat trauma waiting to happen.

They’re great for busting bricks and bending nails at the job-site or frolicking in a Metallica moshpit- but if you step in a pile of Great Dane hooey try to enter yer momma’s house, tracking that delicacy across HER carpet- yer  fuc’n done.

No debate here.

When it’s hot, I wear sandals. Not those pussy-ass slipper type sandals that Bobby Weir and the rest of his twinkie-wang ‘The Grateful Dead’ buddies wear.

With. White. Socks

With my own eyes, I have seen this rancid sandal-based Golden State cultural upchuck. Ween- wiener type open- toed sandals capable of making Perry Como and his sweetheart Bing Crosby spit into the Vegas dirt, toss their drinks into the swimming pool, and beat some 90210 hippie ass.

If Jerry Garcia were still alive he simply wouldn’t countenance this Left Coast affected twee-ass blasphemy.It should be mentioned that – if faced with this fashion tragedy – his band name would be:

The Appropriately Tenfold Dead

Nope. No fuc’n way- my hardcore East Coast dignity would never allow a fashion bomb of that magnitude.

I’m the first to show active disgust when confronted with that special hippie-dippie west coast sox n’ sandals nonsense- no! no! I mean I wear black functional heavy soled kick-ass krav maga loving Hebrew Teva sandals, capable of making John the Baptist’s decapitated head drool, Moses throw down his staff , jump out of the Jordan River and head to the nearest Hudson Trail Outfitters. Not only are my black nasty Teva’s built to withstand the vicious rocky Sinai desert trails, full of Jerusalem stone, two-headed vipers, dirt devils and biblical variety poisonous rat-sized scorpions- but they are tough enough to wear while walking through (or on) water. These sandals have unbreakable straps and soles as thick as yer Uncle Bob’s R.V. tires.

I Bullshit You Not

Personal fact – I change my own oil.

It saves a couple bucks and makes me look like some kind of mechanical genius to my wife.  I can’t say I’m really fast at it- there’s a certain amount of showmanship involved.

(Voice over)

Dejected and covered with blood sweat and grease, he leans spent upon the hood of his Gremlin, cursing (perhaps weeping beneath his breath.) She suddenly appears with a sweating cold glass of fresh iced tea. Encouraging words. Jingos. Sing-song sympathy.

Yeah right, cowboy- I wasn’t married yesterday.

One of the reasons I bought my house is that the Car Parts store is walking distance. I consider this a prudent move. One Saturday it was oil-change time, July, 102 degrees and I had my Tevas on:

The old guy had a cane, forty-odd extra pounds, little hair or left-over visual beauty- but he did carry the definite vibe of an ex-combat Marine from ‘outside-the-beltway’ farm country. I was in a hurry, still I stopped to politely hold the door for him – even though I saw that the Parts counter was busy. My oil-changing mission would be delayed by letting the old geezer butt ahead. Respect the Elders, right?

I figured this old guy had less time left on earth to wait on a car part than I did. Besides, his face was flushed and he didn’t look particularly well.

My polite deference was inordinately taxed when, as the old guy slowly limped and wheezed toward the door, he greeted me with the remark:

“ ‘Am ol’ thangs don’t look right on a man. “

He looked down at my sandals like he just spied a pair of queer monkeys.

He added thoughtfully; “Yer feet ever get wet when ya piss?”

I had my instant chimpanzee ( I’d– like- to- slap- you-HARD!) smile spread wide on my face.

“Well, partner- I’d like to think my aim is better than that.”

“Never could stand ‘am thangs myself, make a normal feller look a little light in the pants.”

‘Ok,’ I thought, ‘Maybe he thinks I’m a raw recruit. Mr. Geriatric Hard-Ass has an advanced case of Lack-Of-Social-Filters. My sandals triggered generational disdain. I kept my mouth shut and allow his gas to pass, unchallenged.

He chuckled at his own joke and pushed past me like an un-oiled rusty John Deere tractor chugging on a two cylinders. He had that unmistakable waft of old guy. The special smell. A mixture of Preparation H, joint crème, unlaundered pants, ten day old Folgers coffee and sour apple pie. He was one of those speak-yer-damn-mind old geezers.

 The hair stood up on the back of my sweaty neck. I was psychologically conflicted.

The old geriatric peckerweed was greeted with happiness and familiarity. He was a regular. The Parts Guys at the counter all knew his name. (It began with ‘MISTER’.)

The Parts Guy and Mister Hardass began jostling good-natured insults back and forth as I moved into position at the counter, waiting my turn. After the wizened creaker took ten minutes to unwrap an antique part from a first-issue turn–of-the-(19th) century lawnmower, he took a long breath and looked me over.

“Naow‘ave yawl ever seen sich a thing? Look at ‘am shoes! I go down to Flerdah every winter, got some French neighbors wear them things around all day long.” Sprunt Geezer looks back to his buddy, The Parts Guy and zings his punch-line;

”But hell, they’z light inna pants French types -whadda ya expect?” Haw Haw.

The entire store of grease-worshippers, Parts Guys, undocumented Toyota owners and one large woman (name-tag that read SAL) laugh in my face and look at my footwear.

Like this was some kind of insect petting zoo and *POOF* I’m the roach.

They are deriding my manly Teva sandals. In public. The whole fuc’n store.

And Sprunt Geezer contumely equates me with some dastardly French snowbirdy tourista from Montreal.

There are times un-filtered Dementia is just no excuse for sequacious verbigeration. Ditto for public displays of wandering redneckism.

Age be damned. His shark oil greased ass would be mine. This pinguid rack-of-dust just called me a French queer in front of a bunch of mechanics at the car parts store. This is like pissing on a monk’s feet in church. Still; I repress my need to strangle all humanity, starting with Mister Sprunt and smile genially, and say in my most even tone:

“If they are good enough for the Son Of God, they should be good enough me to wear while I change my oil.”

“What you say there?” Old Sprunt scowls, “It ain’t no call to be sacrilegious, son.”

 He glowers at me, slacking his jaw and opening his mouth wide enough to drive Sarah Palin’s tour-bus through.

“You appear to be a devout follower of Jesus Christ, sir…and Jesus wore sandals.”

“You ain’t him. I see no resemblance atall.”

“If I were Jesus and happened to be in this parts store my guess is one of three things would happen.”

“Such as?”

“Well, the way I figure it; either yawl wouldn’t recognize me as divine, but if one you did, I’d immediately be offered a job…in which case there would be damn little need for this parts store.”

“How you figgur?”  “ For starters I’d lay hands on that antique lawnmower part of yours, Mister, and hurry things along.”

“What’s the third thing?” piped in Parts Guy. I had his attention.

“Stick my righteous sandaled toe up anyone’s asshole that insulted any innocent oil-changer in public by calling him a French tourist.” I return SpruntGeezer’s glare and lean on the Parts counter like an experienced prophet. A Miracle Worker, oil-changer jista’ wearing messiah blessed footware.

Geezer answers: “Now look here, son…I fought for this country in KO-rea. I’m a Wounded Warrior. I have a right to say what I think.”

“Ah! A Warrior? You ever heard of Joshua? The mega-kick-ass Jew in sandals who beat the shit out of entire armies? Charred their heathen bones and danced around the pyre howling like a wolf with a Viagra-sized boner? I bet you might coulda used HIM in KO-rea. Or how about ol’ King David, the mega kick-ass pussy hound who wrote poetry with one hand and decapitated his enemies with the other? Was he wearing star-spangled construction boots? Hell no! And Jesus the Jew, single-handedly whipping the corporate piss outta the money-changers at the Temple?  I’ll bet no one in here would laugh at them fellers chosen footwear, would they now?”

“No cause to get riled up and call Our Lord Jesus Christ a Jew.”

“You shouldn’t say boner.” Added Sal. “They never said boner in the Bible.”

“Not only was he a Jew, he was a sandal-wearing peace and love hippie. Except for on occasion ass-bruising greedy bankers. He ate figs and hummus. He ate lamb with a parsley garnish, drank wine and herb tea…babes flocked around him, dudes wanted to be him; in fact the entire Sermon on the Mount was like a mixture of a Hebrew Rave and Poetry Slam- minus the sub-woofers, of course…talk about free ecstasy! AND he woulda hated Wall Street…you betcha. The boy wore sandals. Yep. SANDALS!

“Ah think yer talkin’ out yer blaspheming ass, son. All thets fake news.”

“That’s a matter of perspective, Mister Hater.”

“Ahem…fellers..fellers;” interjects head Parts guy,” … let’s us stick to car parts. No need to get in a pickle.”

“Or say boner;” adds Sal displaying a very sour look on her face.

“Ok now- (clears throat) Mr. Sandals…what can I do you for?”

Head Parts guy is being sequacious. And condescending. And making a stupid redneck sales-quip I’ve heard too many times before. He is looking at my footwear and mentally pissing down my leg.

“ Lemmee have six quarts of 5-30 S.A.E. and 2 quarts of that S.T.P. smoke treatment…I gotta Burning Bush out back I need to deal with.”

“Yer Hell-bound, son-I’m damn sure;” Sprunt Geezer scoffs.

“My guess is yer a lot closer to meeting yer maker than I am. Maybe you can put in a good word for me?”

“Thur ain’t no reasoning with you sandal-types, izzair?”

“Soaking figs don’t stay wet long under the harsh biblical sun in the bazaar of The Prophet.”

The deer-people in the car parts store daftly stand, eyes wide, glazed, perplexed – their thought processes annexed. I add my penultimate zinger:

“Judges: Chapter three, verse thirteen. Old-ass Testament. Resurrecting Dignity. Lookit up if yawl can read.”

I look directly into The Parts Guy’s eyes – “I’ll need a filter with that holy oil, pal.”

I’ve exhausted him. His eyes are dead fish. The rest of the scrum seem anxious to put the past ten minutes behind them. Sprunt Geezer can’t take his eyes off my sandals, making a mental note to consult my bible verse.

Right.  I’m wearing sandals.

You twats wanna dance? I gotta toolset.

Let’s do this thing.

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