Back in the summer of 1999, I was POOR. I had some shoes that were falling apart, so I borrowed 5 bucks from a friend and headed to Walgreens, bought a $2 pair of flip-flops in the only color they had (pink) and had enough left over to eat something with protein, a luxury for me in the summer of '99. They were the first flip-flops I ever bought.
Also during that summer, I played my first (and God willing not last) Kahunahhunt. Kahunahhunt is a highly entertaining and addictive scavenger hunt put on by my friend and yours, Rob the Webkahunah. In Kahunahhunt, getting to the finish line requires finding all kinds of clues throughout the wonderful city of New Orleans. Getting to the finish line first counts, but not as much as the points accrued by collecting certain items.
Rob and his assistant Drew had the fantastic idea of making my ugly pink flip-flops worth 10,000 points, where the second highest item was something like 1,000 points. See, they thought I'd be in Indiana, but plans changed. They figured anyone who could get to Indiana and back by the end of that night deserved 10,000 points and the final prize. Needless to say, I didn't wear the flip flops.
My team decided that instead of leaving the flip-flops in my dorm room (into which our incredibly crafty nemeses could have easily broken, considering one team broke into the Entergy building downtown), we'd keep them in the glove compartment of our car. We arrived at the Presbytere, what we thought was one of our clues, at the same time as Team Andy. Andy, without looking at my feet, picked me up and started running toward his car. In addition to the potential 10,000 points for my shoes, 1000 points was to be awarded to any team that could successfully capture a member of an opposing team. I wiggled, punched, kicked, and raised a little bit of hell. I got free, Andy looked at my feet, screamed "Where are they!?!?" and ran off... while I pointed and nyah-nyahed in his face like a good opponent. If the tourists didn't think the locals were crazy before, I'm sure they did after that exchange, smack dab in the middle of the Quarter.
No, we didn't get the 10,000 points for my flip-flops, because my teammates were quitters. They gave up before the end, letting a few snafus completely get them down, and we didn't make it to the finish line. I hated being on that team. My next team will be Dave, Drew, and Angie, and I'M DRIVING. Darn you, Mike. Victory was mine, and you ripped it from my grasping hands.
Add the memory of Kahunahunt to the memory of my boss asking me indignantly why I was wearing thongs in the office (I was mortified, thinking she was asking about my underwear, as I had never heard flip-flops referred to as thongs before) to the memory of repairing those flip flops 3 times with duct tape before I got enough money to buy myself a new pair of shoes... Well, you have a lot of fun memories surrounding one pair of shoes.
That's why, every year when June 21st hits (or shortly thereafter) I go out and buy myself the cheapest pair of pink flip-flops I can find. That summer was one of my best ever, although I was starving and having a major existential crisis, and I want to keep those memories alive.
So, I'm going to head over to Target after seeing Ace this morning and see what kind of $3 atrocity I can find. And then I'll eat some cheap Chinese food a la "Gra-wokwhatchoowan? We be there for-five minute!"
23 hours ago