Killer Boots

Killer boots

Sure, they look all comfy and innocent….

Spring, the season of rebirth and renewal, has finally arrived in New England. Our forsythia blooms, the tulips push through the cold earth, and the magnolia buds ready for opening. Outdoors, signs of life abound. But spring has also brought new life indoors … to me.

Each winter, I tease my husband that he and the kids are trying to collect on my life insurance policy by leaving their shoes and boots all over the staircase landing — and particularly close to the steps themselves — thereby increasing my chances of tripping and falling head first into the full-length window directly across from the stairs. This would be the same landing that’s always dark because the overhead light burns through bulbs like Mexican water runs through American tourists. With my klutziness, the perfect storm brews all winter.

Landing full of shoes and boots

Note the forced casual look of these strewn-about
shoes and boots. Even the dog is getting in on the
act! (See red arrow). Also, note that not a single
pair of my shoes can be found on
the landing.

A few days ago, as I was noting that I could finally put the menacing snow boots away for the season and breathe a sigh of relief at having survived yet another dangerous winter on my own staircase, my husband reminded me of the Twilight Zone episode “Living Doll.” In it, Telly Savalas plays a grumpy newlywed who’s peeved that his bride somehow neglected to mention that she had a daughter… until after the wedding. Savalas’ character is bitter and just plain disdainful of his new step-daughter. But he meets his match in her talking doll, Talky Tina. The supposedly inanimate Tina seems like a regular toy around most people. She recites the appropriate prepackaged lines in front of them. But Tina secretly torments Savalas, who doesn’t like the doll because he didn’t want his wife to buy it for his unwanted step-daughter in the first place. (To make matters worse, Savalas’ character is also bitter because he’s infertile, which, given his anger management issues, is not necessarily a bad thing.)

Anyway, Talky Tina doesn’t like Angry Daddy, and she tells him that. He’s a little freaked out, starts to get paranoid (and, not surprisingly, angrier), and throws her in the trash. Of course, he later finds the doll back in the house. You just can’t throw Tina away! She has feelings. Eventually, when Talky Tina has finished playing with Savalas’ sanity, she places herself juuuuuust right on the stairs, where Savalas trips over her and falls to his death. Tina ends the episode by telling the little girl, “My name is Talky Tina…and you better be nice to me!”

This Is Not the Relationship Most Women Have with Shoes

After my husband recounted the Twilight Zone plot, I thought, “Am I now supposed to believe all those shoes on the landing are not there for some nefarious reason?” I mean, if you were trying to convince me that you hadn’t put the shoes at the foot of the steps to trip me, would you tell me a story about someone tripping and falling down steps?**

But then I realized what Mr. Enigma was trying to say. He wasn’t reaffirming his role in my future demise. But he wasn’t saying I was safe, either. He was saying, “I’m not out to get you, honey, the shoes are.”

And it suddenly made perfect sense. The shoes are out to get me! They are, and I have proof.

Last spring, when my son was in kindergarten, either my husband or I would take him to the bus stop in the morning. This was a huge inconvenience, as the bus stop was full 40 feet from our front door.

Isn’t it true that most accidents happen within a mile or two of one’s home?

When it was my turn at the bus stop, I’d just slip on one of my husband’s pairs of shoes near the door. With so many to choose from already so conveniently and neatly stored by the door, why would I bother to retrieve my own shoes?

One morning, I chose my husband’s old hiking-style boots. I slid my feet into them without bothering to tie them. And as I walked toward the bus stop, I was suddenly thrust forward as my right foot got stuck on something midway through my step. Both legs were straight — I couldn’t bend my knees — and I basically did a belly flop on the street, with barely enough time to get one hand down in front of me. I landed mostly on my left knee and shoulder, with a little help from my right hand.


Killer boots

They hate me. They really hate me!

It turns out that a hook for the laces on the right boot got caught on a hook on the left boot. The hooks locked, and my foot stopped moving while my body was propelled forward and then downward.

Bruised, but for some curious reason undaunted (or perhaps simply unable to learn from past experiences), the very next morning, I slid the same pair of boots on. This time, I made it all the way to the bus stop without tripping and falling. As the kids boarded the bus, I crossed in front of it to head home.

Then the boot hooks locked again. I fell just as fast and hard and landed on the same knee and shoulder as the day before. I swear, I fell exactly the same way as the day before. But this time, I landed two feet in front of the bus, whose driver was busy watching the kids board rather than watch the stupid mother fall on her face in front of his 10-ton vehicle. By the time I was on the pavement, even if the driver had looked ahead, he wouldn’t have seen me.

The news headline flashed in front of my eyes:

Mother Trips Over Own Feet, Crushed by School Bus

Son waves goodbye to her flattened corpse as bus drives away

Even though my shoulder screamed and the rest of my body was stunned, I hopped up and got myself out of the bus’ path. I thought for sure that if I didn’t get out of the way quickly, I’d have to do one of those stunt-man-roll-between-the-tires- and-hold-my-breath-as-the-bus-passes-over-me kind of moves. And I didn’t know if I could pull it off.

At the time, I didn’t realize the boots were out to get me. I just figured I should have tied the laces or perhaps not worn shoes four sizes too big. In other words, I figured my falling was my fault.

But now I realize it wasn’t me, it was the boots! Why they wanted me out of the way, I don’t know. Perhaps they overheard me telling my husband it might be time for a new pair. Or maybe they heard me cursing when they came in with dog poo stuck in their treads. I don’t know, but clearly those spills were no accident, especially that one right in front of the school bus. If the bus had hit me, the police would have never suspected the boots. It was almost the perfect crime.

Just as Telly Savalas got Talky Tina out of his house, I removed the deadly boots from my home. I didn’t throw them in the trash, but I did put them on the back porch, far, far away from the front door so I would never again be tempted to slip them on to retrieve the mail, take out the trash, or perform some other supposedly safe outdoor activity.

They haven’t walked themselves back into the house. But this morning, as I opened the sliding door to let the fresh spring air in the house, I could swear I heard a voice on the porch say, “You better be nice to me.”

**Really, people, I hope you know I’m joking.

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  1. Not June Cleaver said,

    April 21, 2008 @ 9:22 am

    Does the hook of death ever trip your husband when he wears them? No? I think that is very telling.

  2. lori said,

    April 21, 2008 @ 9:24 am


    Well, he *says* the hooks sometimes lock up, but he’s never hit the pavement because of it. Telling, indeed!

  3. Enigma said,

    April 22, 2008 @ 10:18 am

    One of the rare cases where it actually helps to be bow legged.

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