Saturday, January 27, 2007

sole survivors

“With all due respect, I am much better than you.”

“Oh just shut up,” said the Shoes to the Slippers, increasingly upset.

The dispute had been going on the whole day, with the Slippers losing more and more of their color, getting softer and more ductile with each retort.

The Shoes remembered when their brown backs and white leather faces were shiningly, shimmeringly, splendidly new. Now it is barely recognizable.

I have observed this fascinating and unique skirmish between footwear, with never a hint of yielding on both parties, each one proving to the other how famous, how magnificent, how functional, how economic (and so on) one is.
“Shut up, will I? You better keep your soles on the ground, you sorry excuse for footwear,” the Slippers said. “My bloodline is as royal as the holy grail.”

“Not listening,” the Shoes responded.

Actually, slippers evolved from the footwear used in Japan during the modern Meiji period, made with Japanese rice straw and wood “zori” for the sandals used with the kimono. The present-day Grolier’s Encyclopedia says flip-flops are usually of soft materials such as leather, rubber, and plastic. Through time, the world eventually tagged them “slippers.” It is recorded in English in the year 1478, deriving from the much older verb “to slip,” the notion being of a footwear that is "slipped" onto the foot.

Many companies like Dupe and Happy Feet have definitely capitalized on the slippers industry. Yup. I’m even wearing my very own black vintage Havaianas Surf while writing this.

A friend of mine, Paulalaine Martinez, a Political Science major, tells me that “Slippers are comfortable and can be used everywhere. Shoes are just so tiring to clean.”

“Slippers give the feet no restrictions whatsoever—the feet are free,” Alexis Marapao, a nursing student told me the other day. “Wearing these things aren’t just supposed to be flaunted; they are used because you just love wearing it”

However, according to, shoes also have an interesting story. Though it might be impossible to distinguish its exact phase of development up to now, one obvious reason why it was made was for protection.

Undoubtedly, shoes show the financial and social standing of the wearer. Looking at someone’s shoes, you can tell if the person is into sports, if he or she is laid-back, fussy, well-off or hugawan. It is a strong indication of personality.

In the mid part of the 20th century, the sneakers (another kind of shoes) became a more common cultural trend highlighting new “technological” offerings specifically for athletes. It was later redefined and redesigned for the fashion squad consumption. The first rubber-soled shoes, manufactured in the 1800s, were called “plimsolls”.

“Mas-better tanawon ang shoes kay formal gamay,” said Niko Cepe, a Nutrition and Dietetics sophomore. “Kung papilion ko kung unsa ang maayo jud, depende ra na sa gasuot kung angayan.”

I look back at the two fighting footwear as the Shoes’ laces bent as if they were its hands on its hips, and the Slippers flapping its straps like a chicken. I knew both have countless, gushing testimonies from their wearers; but the raging debate on who is the best sank into hotter water than before.

“We represent the basic necessity of the high, middle, and low class. And besides, without us, people will walk around their homes in heels,” the Slippers asserted.

“But we embody fortification and safety. Being incapable of purchasing us is not at all a hindrance in acquiring us,” protested the Shoes.

“Yet, we Slippers symbolize discipline and strength. We are aware of the environs’ harshness yet we are open to challenge it—to face it.”

“Challenge? We are challenge in the best form; trekking mountains, crossing fields, and training in various activities.”

“Huh, we may have rubber atrophy but we can be tough.”

“We, on the other hand, are touted as rough but we also give ease and comfort.”

“Hey, stop judging our kind!” both of them mutually (in genuine surprise) asserted to the other.

I drifted away from their dialogue when the skies suddenly shifted, fusing grey and deep indigo—a sure sign that rain would come. And yes, drops of cold rivulets caressed my bare nape while the Slippers and the Shoes continued to rant on. Oh, how we keep overlooking the most poignant lessons in the little things.

Lightning flashes in the far horizon; the rain comes roaring down, leaving the Slippers and the Shoes drenched in mud and dirt, soaked and wet, still adamantly proud of the laurels covering their eyes.

Dying out, endangered, tarnished and horribly neglected, and still ranting on.

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