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Sneakers, Trump, Mueller

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So a few weeks ago I needed a new pair of basketball shoes. I entered the nearby mall, cruised a bunch of different stores, tried on too-small Nikes, too-small Adidas. Then, as I was leaving, I spotted the big sign for Payless and it’s GOING OUT OF BUSINESS sale.

Hmm.

Now, I know Payless sells subpar footwear. It’s why they’re cheap. You get what you pay for, and at Payless you pay very little. But, well, I dunno. I needed kicks. And, truly, is there THAT big of a difference between brands? So I walked through the front door and over to the size 13 men’s area. And, after scanning the shelves and looking up and glancing down, I saw a pair of gray-and-white Champion high-tops.

I tried them on—perfect.

I did a search of online reviews—solid.

I looked at the tag—$32.

Now here’s the thing: Deep down I knew these shoes were crap. Track record matters, and there’s a reason not a single NBA player wears Champion sneakers; not a single Division I men’s or women’s basketball team has Champion as an official shoe. But, man, I wanted the shoes to be good. I wanted to prove folks wrong. I’m not exaggerating—something deep down inside my gut enjoys showing up folks who fork over $200 on new Durants.

But, again, I knew.

I broke the Champions out a few weeks back, for my regular Saturday morning run at the local outdoor courts. The first thing to go was the tongue on my right shoe—no matter how tight the laces, it kept sliding and puffing up. Next was the left tongue. The the rubber soles starting shredding, not unlike the sensation of peeling off part of a cheese stick. When I returned home a few hours later, I admitted to the wife and kids that my $32 Champions were trash.

“Dad,” my son said, “why are you surprised?”

Indeed.

I bring this up because, with the release of the Robert Mueller report and no new indictments being filed, I’m hearing an endless stream of Donald Trump backers celebrating in the streets. They feel vindicated, because—hey!—the president might have not colluded directly with the Russian government to take the 2016 election. It’s a weird thing to celebrate—yes, he’s a lifelong crook, swindler, conman. He refused to paid contractors for completed work, he paid off a porn star, he kicked homeless vets off the block in front of Trump Tower, he lied about helping at Ground Zero, lied about proof of the 44th president being a Kenyan-born Muslim, lied about seeing people celebrate atop buildings on 9.11, lied about Mexico paying for the wall (“It’ll be so easy”), lied about his net worth, lied about how he made his money. Lied and lied and lied and lied.

But, like me with the Champion sneakers, sometimes we want to believe the unbelievable. And, when we’re shown to be wrong … shown to be naive, we dig in deeper. We fight for the idea we should have never surrendered to in the first place.

I played three games in my Champions.

Donald Trump might not have directly colluded with Russia.

See what you see.

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