Thursday, January 31, 2013

Strength From the Sole

Because my blood pressure has gone through the roof over the last couple weeks, I need to calm myself down a little bit; and quite frankly, some of YOU look like your heads are about to pop like an overripe zit, so I think it’s time to go somewhere else for a while… relax in the hot tub… crack a nice, home-brewed beer; maybe pass a joint around the tub… waddaya say?

So I think I'll attack the status quo from a different direction. I'm going to write about something I promised myself I'd never write about... fashion. I promise, I'll try to keep this as “manly” an approach as I can.

I’ve never really liked shopping for clothes. When I DO buy clothes, it’s usually at a Thrift store. That’s where I get the majority of my furniture, too.

The main reason I shop there is the cost… you can’t beat the prices. Often, you can find brand-new, never-worn clothes, some of which are things that will never go out of style. I’ve found that there are some things that a person can wear and look just as normal 20 years in the future as they do now; a basic “uniform,” if you will. Jeans and a t-shirt… it’ll never go out of fashion… regular, worn jeans and a plain, black t-shirt… no designs; no logos; maybe a pocket… you’ll never look “out of place” in society while wearing it.

As for the jeans, however, I find that I don’t like the pockets, so I’ve taken a little of my own license and decided that cargo pants fit into that category as well. I mean, we have a lot of shit to bring around with us these days, don’t we?

We have our cell-phones, our money, our keys, our wallets, our flash drives, our pocket-knives, our pot and pipes, our mp3 players and the headphones to go with them. Regular jeans can’t carry all of that shit, and I hate having a million things hanging off my belt like some kind of fuckin’ security guard… been there, done that.

I have my keys hanging from my belt loop on a clip, because I know that I won’t lose them if they’re fuckin’ ATTACHED to me and it’s easy to separate my car key from the rest, so I don’t have all that weight hanging from my ignition, fuckin’ it up.

As far as my cell-phone goes, I don’t want it ANYWHERE NEAR my dick! I don’t want some kind of fuckin’ cancer or something, and ESPECIALLY not in or near my daddymaker! I prefer to keep my phone near my knee or thigh.

Smokes… easy to get to in the left-thigh pocket, alongside the pipe and pot… keep all that shit together… that leaves my back pocket free for the wallet like most people. My hip pocket is for my card and cash, right next to my fuckin’ pocketknife. For times that I believe I may need a little extra protection, I keep a second, less utilitarian knife on my belt.

There are some pants that have more than just the standard allotment of pockets; there are some that have pockets on top of pockets, and smaller pockets, and loops for hammers… I LOVE those! Sometimes, you find that you need MORE pockets, like if you’re framing or hanging drywall in the basement, or if you have a date and you know she’ll want you to hold her lipstick (I really don’t fuckin’ mind)… then, when she asks for it, you can just be like “WHA-BAM!” … and then you get a blowjob later, just for being a nice, decent guy… how do you like that? See? Cargo pants cause blowjobs!

So, we have the standard “uniform,” if you will… cargo pants and a black t-shirt. Hat? Hair? Jacket? Optional... as long as I don't feel like a walking billboard, it's all good.

I’m a fuckin’ chameleon; I blend in everywhere. I’ve been in several “scenes,” and I can adapt and become what I need to be for any fuckin’ environment. I’ve been a goth, a punk, a headbanger, a professional, a filthy-stinkin’-liberal, a stoner, a jock, a hippy, a rock star, a hellbilly, an intellectual, a comedian, a comic geek, a film snob, an art snob, a theoretical physicist, and a fashionisto. I’ve always been what I needed to be in order to survive. Through all of that, one thing has never changed; my shoes.

It’s true… all you need are a good pair of Doc Martens! They’re dressy enough for just about anything you’d want to attend; they’re comfortable enough to spend HOURS on your feet at a time; they’re durable enough to go through RIGOROUS use for five or more fuckin’ years; and they come from a country we can trust to treat their workers as good or better than many of our own!

There’s one pair of Docs that I’ve had and worn for over 10 years! These things won’t fuckin’ die! Another pair (my favorite one) got over five years of daily, hard use before I had to retire them because the soles split.

A good pair of Docs doesn’t get replaced; they get retired. It’s a fact! People keep them like trophies and show off the scuffs and scrapes in the impermeable leather as if they were battle scars!

“… that one? I got kicked by a skinhead at an Agnostic Front concert! On this other pair, you see that scuff? Deflected a hunter’s bullet while I was hiking!”

Often, if someone owns Doc Martens, they’ll leave their old pairs out in the open, next to the wall; beaten and tattered; the soles worn down to nearly nothing… they are the voices of past wars and daily abuse; they are the aging veterans of past personal conflicts... and they are saluted in their own way by their owners.

When wearing a good pair of Doc Martens, every step feels like it has a PURPOSE! It makes you feel like you have something to SAY, and you’re not going to be QUIET about it! You FEEL like a warrior! You FEEL like a REVOLUTIONARY!

Part of that is because they weigh a little more than most shoes; part of it is because of the history behind them; and part of it is because of the somewhat militaristic appearance of their boots and shoes.

Doc Martens have been worn in urban and suburban environments to make the statement that “life IS a battleground, and we are all soldiers in our own way!” There’s always at least a little bit of “rebel” in people who wear Doc Martens. Just a little piece (or more) of the lack of desire to conform to typical society; a rejection of the status-quo. You may not see it at first in some people, but it’s there... trust me.

All through the 80’s and 90’s, Doc Martens were commonplace in the Punk movement, as well as the resulting Goth, Industrial, and Ska movements. They’ve had their place in the white supremacy movement and skinhead movement, as well as their rivaled SHARPs (Skin Heads Against Racial Prejudice) and two-tones. The determinate factor: the color of laces used. Skinheads wore red laces, white supremacists wore white laces, two-tones wore black and white checked laces, and SHARPs wore green laces. Seriously, people used to get STABBED for having the wrong color laces in the wrong crowd at concerts, in parks, or just walking down the street.

Doc Martens were the voice of the Punk movement in every corner of it. In many ways, they continue to be. But as some of us who came up in those scenes have moved away from certain fashion statements, the good Doc has been kind enough to adapt and evolve, offering us footwear that meet the guidelines for tasteful apparel in the workplace. Being a chameleon, I have had to make this adaptation, myself. When I first held a non-boot Doc Marten in my hands, I felt dirty; like I was selling out. But the second it was on my foot, my feelings of betrayal subsided. It had all the heft and the purpose I had grown accustomed to; every step still felt like a stomp; but it was comfortable in ways I had not yet seen and found a home within the confines of a less-restrictive piece of footwear.

Hence, I've been converted, and currently wear my newest pair as I write this now. I still feel every bit the part of the revolutionary that I did when I first put on a pair of Docs, and I understand and feel the devotion that people have to their retired pairs. It’s like your first car all over again. You love it; you want it with you till the day you die; it’s a symbol of your independence and freedom; your first car and your retired Docs hold the same meaning to you. The car, however, was likely a piece of shit; whereas the Doc Martens don’t leave oil stains on the driveway, so it’s much easier to keep them around, reminding you of all your greatest victories, hardest-fought battles, toughest defeats, sweetest rewards, high times, low times, good times, hard times, and everything in between from days behind you.

But there’s something more to them; you KNOW everything you’ve been through, and IT IS, after all, a war out there; it’s us against the status quo, and a good pair of Docs are your ticket to say “FUCK YOU” to “the man.” They’re the right tool for the job. They’re the best way to show that you won’t bow down to the bastards that seek to keep their boot on your neck!

All you really need in life is a good pair of Doc Martens, and you’ll make it through just fine!

Kind of weird when you think about it that way, isn’t it? It’s true, though. Sometimes, you just need that little “edge”… that little “something” to make you feel like you have a purpose! Your clothes CAN impact your attitude, and simply having the right shoes to make you feel stronger can make all the difference in the world!

Things are shitty out there… I get it… I’ve seen it… I’ve been there…

… and I’ve seen the torture you’ve all taken… I’ve been there for it… I’ve been through it, too…

Knowing that, I know that we need to find a place to draw strength from and every little fuckin’ bit helps! We need people to be STRONGER right now… we need people to be AWAKE! That one small change, I think, would make people feel the way the world NEEDS them to feel right now!

When average people are stronger, the assholes who’ve placed themselves on pedestals will easily fall from the great heights at which they sit! I had a dream last night… a dream of what may be the future.

In the dream, I was speaking to THRONGS of people from a stage. The people were awake. The people were angry. The people were ready to tear the tyrants from their positions of power. The people were ready for the changes that we need. The people were desperate enough to do anything it will take to get what we need!

Thousands of fists filled the air! It was an army of Brodes. It was beautiful!

Thousands of people, knowing they wouldn't stand for the bullshit...

Thousands of people, speaking their minds...

Thousands of people, finding a direction...

Thousands of people... all of them wearing Doc Martens!

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