Oct 24, 2008
I am one of those a-holes who gets his shoes shined.
Today at lunch with Jeremy Conn I was approached by a man. At first, I thought he was going to ask for spare change. He surprised my by asking me if I wanted a free shoe shine. You see, his theory was that if someone got up in his chair it might inspire someone else to get their shoes shined. Although I kind of like my shoes a little on the dull and scuffed side, I reluctantly agreed.
Immediately I was struck by how conspicuous one is when sitting in a shoe shine chair. I've always walked by businessmen getting their shoes done and thought, "What an a-hole." Now I have become what I hate. Slowly, I began to relax and ignore the glares and questioning looks from passers by. I asked the shoe shiner, lets call him Shoe Shine Joe, how he got in to the biz. Joe proceeded to tell me the history of the last 15 years of business. Quite a tale of working at whatever he could find to do from taking pictures of G.I.s with strippers in Texas to shining in shoes in front of a western store where he got his start.
I'll never do it again, but I guess I can say that I have the experience now.