JEFF PEARLMAN

Coming October 2022: "The Last Folk Hero: The Life and Myth of Bo Jackson"

Shoes

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Entering my freshman year of high school, I bought a pair of white Pony lowtops at Marshall’s. It was a bold step me for. Through my first eight years of school, I’d always worn running shoes—Nikes, Adidas, Brooks. But during 8th grade I started noticing the cool kids shifting to white shoes. Hence, I attempted to make the change.

The night before the first day of school, I couldn’t sleep. Would people make fun of my white Pony lowtops? Were they lame? Too bold? Would I fit in? Had kids moved on to a different style? Seriously, I must have woken up 20 times that night, as anxious as I’d ever been.

Twenty-three years later, a box arrived in the mail from Nike. My wife’s grandmother gave me a design-your-own-shoe gift card, and I had allowed my 5-year-old daughter to do most of the work. Here’s the end result …

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They are, without question, the ugliest sneakers ever created. And yet, I am no longer 14 and insecure. I wear these exploding tacos with pride.

Well, actually, with great embarrassment. But what the f^%$ am I supposed to do? The daughter made ’em. Ah, parenting …