By: John Carlson—
Crocs. They’re not just for dorks anymore.
Oh sure, some touchy folks out there might take offense at what they consider my gross generalization of their favorite footwear. “How dare you say that! What proof have you that Crocs wearers were ever, as you so disdainfully put it, dorks?”
All the proof I need, fella! Irrefutable proof! Undeniable proof! The kind of proof so damning, only a moron would challenge it.
To wit: I used to wear Crocs myself.
Now, I’m not proud of that fact. I’m also not saying that my picture is practically printed alongside the definition of “dork” in Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary. If it were, however, it wouldn’t look out of place. After all, it describes a dork as a nerd. As for the adjective “dorky,” it’s defined as foolishly stupid. Frankly, I must admit that, like many foolishly stupid people, I am personally unaware of being foolishly stupid which, I’m afraid, quite possibly proves that I am foolishly stupid.
Dorky is also defined as inept. Hey, I’m like the emperor of inept! By this I mean mean generally incompetent, a bungler lacking aptitude for pretty much everything except, in my specific case, eating tacos. It’s only a matter of time before I drive downtown to Casa del Sol some evening, slide into my favorite booth and – wondering why the naugahyde’s so chilly – realize I forgot my pants.
So as a certifiable inept dork, padding around out in public in those clunky rubber Crocs somehow just felt right. This was especially so when paired with some attractive madras Bermuda shorts hemmed just above my white athletic socks, the ones sporting brightly colored stripes on top. But then the other day, Nancy walked into my man-cave carrying a box with something she had bought for me. Opening it, I found my brand new pair of …
But these Crocs were not like my old Crocs, which were colored what I always thought of as “regurgitation green.” Quite the opposite, in fact.
“They’re called ‘espresso brown,’” Nancy explained of their classy mocha color, talking all hoity-toity. And while yes, they still had the big dorky Crocs-looking front ends, those dorky front ends appeared to be covered by finely stitched panels of luxurious fake suede! On top of that, the straps that wrap around one’s Achilles’ tendons were adjustable for tightness, meaning you’d never again run out of your Crocs while being chased through your neighborhood by hoodlums or the cops.
“These actually look pretty cool!” I effused, to which Nancy replied, “You should see the other ones,” to which I rejoined, “Other ones?”
And there they were, when I punched “Crocs” into my iPad. There were Crocs in every color of the rainbow, Crocs so bright they could summon search and rescue teams if you ever went down in a wilderness plane crash.
There were Crocs lined with what I assume was fake fur, unless there are pink and baby-blue beavers running around out there somewhere. There were Crocs in the form of sandals, clogs, wedges and slides, whatever the heck those last three were. There were women’s Crocs in delicate pastels. You know, colors “chicks” dig. There were men’s Crocs in several catchy camouflage styles, too, plus Santa Cruz “Playa” Lace-ups guaranteed to drive ladies who are hot for guys wearing Crocs mad with carnal desire. There were even Crocs manufactured with tie-dye graphics, just so the previously mentioned dorky Crocs wearers would know they hadn’t been neglected by the Crocs company. Furthermore, there were all sorts of decorated Crocs for children, including the spectacular Garth Nader … oops, sorry, “Star Wars” fans, I always screw that up … DarthVader Crocs that’ll have your kids streaking around the house at “warp speed” – oops, my bad, guys, I mean “hyperdrive” – in no time!
Anyway, now I am in my fourth week of wearing my new Crocs, which Time magazine once had the audacity to call one of the world’s “worst inventions,” and I’m still digging them. And what would you say if I told you that some of America’s biggest movie stars – including people like Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Denzel Washington and Leonardo DiCaprio – have gone on record as saying Crocs are their favorite shoes?
“You’re lying!” you might gasp with shock.
Yeah, OK, I am lying. Beats me what kind of shoes they like. Still, the grip in Crocs soles is such that I can stop and turn around on a dime if, say, I’m heading for the television set to watch football, then remember I forgot to grab some pork rinds. Furthermore, the bounce in my step that I’d lost squeezing the last few miles out of my ratty old Converse All-Stars is back. So is my carefree whistle when I am out walking.
People glance at me and think, “What’s that dork so happy about?”
Then their gaze falls to my fake suede Crocs and I can read the message in their eyes: “Oh, excuse me, sir … I had mistaken you for a dork, but now I can tell by your stylish new Crocs that you are not a dork after all.”
And I just nod, smile, cast a pitying, sympathetic glance at their own inadequate footwear and think, “You got that right, bozo!”
John’s weekly columns are sponsored by Beasley & Gilkison, Muncie’s trusted attorneys for over 120 years.
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A former longtime feature writer and columnist for The Star Press in Muncie, Indiana, John Carlson is a storyteller with an unflagging appreciation for the wonderful people of East Central Indiana and the tales of their lives, be they funny, poignant, inspirational or all three. John’s columns appear on Muncie Journal every Friday.