JEFF PEARLMAN

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

Finding the Shoe

Screen Shot 2014-04-29 at 9.53.33 PMEvery Tuesday at 5 pm, my daughter takes a piano lesson.

It’s held at a woman’s house up the street, and generally the son and I tag along. We don’t really go for the music, though. We go for the fun.

Wait. Back up. Technically speaking, there’s nothing especially fun about the teacher’s house. She’s a woman in her 60s, so there aren’t overflowing toy bins and candy bowls. It’s a lovely-yet-conventional crib. Chairs. Tables. Carpet. Bathrooms. Those sort of things. And yet, the boy and I have a blast. Why? Because we invent games. The big one is Find the Shoe. The goal: Well, find the shoe. One of us covers our eyes, the other hides a shoe. When it’s located, we switch positions. Then we switch again. And again. And again. Our newest competition is called, eh, Walk Around The Table With Your Eyes Closed. The rules: Shut your eyes and walk around the rectangular table without touching anything. Again, we take turns. And switch. And switch. And switch. And …

I know … I know—yawn. Right? Yawn, yawn, yawn, yawn. Only here’s the shocker: There are no yawns. It’s fun and funny and inventive and cool. The daughter plays for about 35 minutes, and when she’s done I’m always disappointed. So is the boy. We wanna hide more shoes. We wanna walk around the table. I actually often think back to Paul Duer, my college roommate, who was always inventing inane-yet-riveting games in our apartment along the lines of Toss the Bottle Caps in the Shopping Cart.

In 2014, we’re supposed to only do things that involve screens. Bright Colors. Explosions. All that stuff.

Still, I opt for chasing after shoes.