I can say with 100 percent confidence that it was the first time I ever uttered this phrase to my wife: “I hope I have an undiagnosed foot fungus.”
No, I don’t have any nasty feet issues, and even if I did, I wouldn’t share them with you, because feet are gross.
I said it, rather, because I hope the filthy low-down swine who stole my sandals gets a fiery wrath on the soles of his feet as karmic payback for being a beach sandal bandit.
(Yes, I know I, too, would have said fiery wrath, but in my revenge scenario, it affects me much less.)
I live only a few minutes from the beach, and I go quite often. This day, my daughter and I took our dog to let him stretch his legs.
When we got to the end of the trail leading to the beach, we did what we normally do — we took off our shoes as we got on the sand, and pitched them to the side. And why do we do this? Because that’s what you do at the beach. It’s kinda understood that when you return your SHOES ARE STILL THERE.
After about 30 minutes, as we headed off the beach, we arrived at the spot where my shoes had been left. And they were not there. Because a horrible person stole them. And how do I know they’re horrible? Because remember the old saying: “Never criticize a man until you have walked a mile in his shoes.” Well, I’ve walked hundreds of miles in those shoes, so I feel plenty confident in criticizing the scourge of a human who violated one of the basic rules of beach etiquette.
We searched and searched. Nothing. I also found myself eyeing with suspicion everyone who walked by and staring at their shoes. I’m not sure what I would have done had I seen a pair like mine.
But, Mike, you may be asking, perhaps it was a case of mistaken shoe-dentity. No, it was not, because they were parked with my daughter’s cute little turquoise numbers. Also, there was not a similar looking pair of sandals anywhere in the vicinity. Had someone made a mistake, they would have left theirs.
And here’s the worst part: My sandals are one of the few products I actually splurge on. I’m a simple man with simple tastes. For the longest time, the sandals I wore were the El Cheapo models. I’d wear them, they’d break, I’d buy new cheap ones. And then a few years ago, I was given a pair of very nice Columbia sandals as a gift. I was hooked. It felt like wearing convertible tennis shoes. I didn’t realize that your feet didn’t have to hurt after wearing sandals. So I became a devotee. When my last pair finally died after several years of service, I got me a new pair. They were probably $50-$60, which may not sound like a whole lot, but that was about how much I had spent on my previous 20 pairs of cheap shoes, so it was a big leap for me to do it.
And these sandals were perfect. A good eight months out of the year, these are the shoes I slip on the minute I come in the door from work.
But, Mike, you may also be asking, what if it was someone who needed shoes? Well then he could have asked me for my shoes. “Brother, I have no shoes. Can you help me out?” I would have gladly given him my shoes and wished him well on his life’s journey. But you know who doesn’t spend time at a beach on an island? People in need of a shoe handout.
So I will go and buy a new pair, and I will never again leave my shoes at the entrance of the beach. It’s a shame that some people really do ruin things for everyone because they are awful. I hope the thief enjoys years of comfort given to him by my shoes. And agony from the fungus I hope I have.
Mike Gibbons was born and raised in Aiken, S.C. A graduate of the University of Alabama, he now lives in Charleston. You can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @StandardMike.