Cheap shoes make your feet stink. Everybody knows this. When you’re old and married, you don’t think that much about it. Your victi—uh, spouse, can just move away, ignore the smell, or take her own cheap shoes off to fight fire with fire.
When you’re young, in love and obsessed with projecting the perfect image to your loved one, the scent of sour feet is not acceptable.
So, when I went to visit my betrothed in her apartment one Friday night just weeks before we were married, I decided to wash my feet off in the tub before we went out. Simple, right? All day in those cheap shoes had not done any favors for my feet. It was essential that I get them reborn as quickly as possible.
I was in the bathroom next to her bedroom. Just paces away, she readied herself for our date while I prepared in my own way. I kicked off my shoes and proceeded to make right what was so wrong. I washed the staleness and toxins from my feet without incident. But when I was standing at the back of the tub, wearing my work clothes with the pants legs rolled up, an incident did occur. Apparently, the laws of physics aren’t always posted clearly, but the penalty for transgressing them is always the same. It seems that if your center of gravity is “so high” and you weigh “so much” and the surface on which you are standing is “so slick”, then you should in fact only reach “so far”. In my vigor to get my feet dry and presentable again, I did reach “just so much further” and my feet slipped on the bottom of the cursed tub. There was a certain amount of friction; there were squeaks galore, but not enough traction to keep me from going down. Over and down. My feet went to the left, skated for a bit, and my upper body went right. When my body pitched to the wall, I lead with my cranium, creating a loud THUMP on the tile wall. As my feet continued their descent toward the drain, they declared their desire for grip on the wet porcelain. More long squeaks. Loud ones. Accompanied by several more thumps, of varying volume. That would be dependent on whether there was much muscle over the bones that were impacting the tile/tub structures. Of course, head, elbow and knee make the loudest noise, while a hip has a lower frequency tone.
As I lay in the tub, partly wet, head, elbow, knee and hip throbbing in pain, I became aware of the voice of my future wife calling out to me in my injured state.
“Are you all right...?”
It was only a few seconds later that I realized that her caring inquiry was interrupted by suppressed gales of laughter. These gales quickly gathered strength and lost control.
Needless to say, by that time, my body was not the only thing bruised.
“I’m not laughing that you got hurt,” she managed to choke out, “I’m laughing at the sound of the squeaking and the thuds...” This statement was punctuated by the stifled laughter which eventually gave way to all out guffaws and cackles.
Only now can I laugh about this as well as she, and her glee is still strong after more than 20 years. It is the essence of comedy: somebody gets hurt in a funny way, and people laugh. I almost feel honored to be an active participant.