Cumberland Times-News

Jim Goldsworthy - Anything and Everything

October 26, 2013

Don’t understand? You still can learn from it

One of my favorite commercials at this time features a man who is dressed like a ninja, tumbling and crawling and sneaking his way through a semi-darkened room that is crisscrossed by laser beams.

He makes it to a wall and reaches for a thermostat. Just as he touches it, all perdition breaks loose.

Alarms go off, an unseen force blasts him away from the wall, and a see-through cage of some kind falls from the ceiling and confines him.

“Really?” he wails. “It’s only two degrees!”

The scene shifts to the boudoir, where his wife is sitting up in bed, painting her toenails.

“It’s for my new shoes,” she says, “Honey!”

The expression on her face is ominous, to say the least. Even the Mountain Monster hunters, the Ghost Adventures crew or Scooby Doo and his buddies would get the whibbies. (How many scoundrels would have succeeded in their nefarious intent, had it not been for those meddling kids and their dog?)

I’ve seen the like of this expression on the faces of women, live and in person, and it has scared the hell out of me.

Exaggerated though the above scenario may be, a ring of truth is present.

Few men, if any, will ever understand the passion women have for their footwear ... let alone how women actually can walk in certain examples of what they call shoes.

I am convinced that high-fashion shoe designers hate women. Cage shoes? Seriously? Only a disturbed mind could conceive of something that looks as kinky and painful to wear as some of what I see on women’s feet.

A woman I know told me one of the two reasons women wear such shoes is to intimidate and impress other women: I have them, and you don’t.

My mother said that if shopping malls have accomplished nothing else, they’ve demonstrated to young women the value of wearing flat shoes. This was a woman whose arches were permanently molded into crescent moons by decades of wearing high heels.

Two of my lady friends once discussed shoes and all things that have to do with shoes, knowing that I was within earshot. They probably just wanted to talk about shoes and had no idea how the experience would intimidate me.

I would have a better chance of following a conversation between two nuclear physicists than I had of comprehending what those two women had to say about shoes.

Ah, but that’s how it is. It’s possible that they would have been equally lost while listening to their husbands and me talk about firearms, motorcycles or hot cars. (In which case — say it with me — the shoe would be on the other foot.) Or maybe not. Happily, some women are motorheads who like guns.

One of my favorite women-and-shoe stories came from the hostess of a party I attended. She didn’t understand why women found it so necessary to wear high-heeled shoes.

My feeling (which I shared with my father and other men I’ve known) is that nothing is more graceful or mesmerizing than a woman who knows how to walk in heels, and that the overall effect is unmatched by anything else in nature. (By the same token, few things are more clumsy than a woman who doesn’t know how to walk in heels.)

Women know this, which is the second reason they wear heels: I have this, and you want it.

But I didn’t tell my friend any of that. I just let her go on. She was vehemently, heart-attack serious about why high-heeled shoes are demeaning to women. I agreed with her.

Eventually, she walked off to get a drink. That’s when her husband came up to me and said, “Don’t pay any attention to her.”

He told me about the day they drove past a shoe store in Hagerstown.

She said she’d like to go in and see what they have, and he could get a beer at the bar that was conveniently located next to the shoe store.

He had a beer, and then another, and after the third he decided to go and see what was up with his wife, the shoe-shopper.

He found her at the cash register, ready to check out with a stack of shoe boxes that was almost as tall as she was (and she’s not a short woman).

“Every one of those boxes held a pair of high-heeled shoes,” he said.

By that time, his wife had returned and — with a wide, happy smile — confirmed every word her husband had told me.

Goldy’s Rule 149: The only thing a man can understand about women is that he will never understand anything about women. Rule 149b: What he must understand is that he will occasionally find himself in trouble with women — even those with whom he has no romantic involvement — for reasons he cannot understand. Rule 149c: A wise man can use his inability to understand women as a learning tool.

Here’s how this works:

A lady friend of mine wears open-toed shoes and, simply out of curiosity and to make conversation, I asked her if she changes the color of her toenails to match the color of her shoes — as they did that day.

“I hate toes,” she said. “Toes freak me out.”

I distinctly remember that things went blank for a moment.

She had more derogatory things to say about toes, but I don’t remember any of it because Rule 149 had kicked in and I realized that I was in over my head.

Likewise, my role in the conversation had ended, because I had no desire to inadvertently run afoul of Rule 149b.

How then does Rule 149c apply here? Let me explain.

My lady friend is no longer wearing open-toed shoes or sandals, nor are many other women I have observed. They are wearing boots.

Because of this, I have learned — and can say with considerable assurance — that fall has arrived and winter is just around the corner.

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Jim Goldsworthy - Anything and Everything
  • He means well, and this time they spared his life

    Our pal Phil is the only re-enactor certified in writing by both the Lee and Custis families to portray Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee (whose wife was Mary Anna Custis Lee). When he’s in uniform, he generally stops at the bottom of the path that leads to the summit of Little Round Top, salutes Capt. Gary and First Sgt. Goldy and asks permission to join us. (Get it? Generally ... General Lee?) We always return his salute and grant him permission, in part because he’s our friend and also because the real Lee never got to see what it really looks like from up there. (Get it? Grant ... Grant? U.S. Grant? Real Lee ... really? OK. I hear you. That’s enough. Seriouslee.) Phil gets a kick out of being able to sneak up on us while we’re distracted by tourists.

    July 20, 2014

  • They’d have fallen like Autumn leaves

    So there we were, minding our own business (at least momentarily), leaning against the cannon at Little Round Top.

    July 13, 2014

  • Better read that french fry before you eat it

    People give me otherwise-insignificant items they hope will amuse or inspire me. I appreciate this. I’m always glad for free entertainment, which as Goldy’s Rule 33 says is everywhere. All you have to do is wait and it will come to you. Also, I have been writing columns for 37 years and embrace inspiration anywhere I can find it.

    July 6, 2014

  • The moose is loose, and it’s coming for you

    So how would you like to look out your kitchen door window onto your porch and see a moose looking back at you from close range?

    June 28, 2014

  • There are some debts you can never repay

    Today’s column will be relatively short, as my columns go, for reasons that should become apparent, and I thought long and hard before writing it.

    June 21, 2014

  • It could have saved the county a lot of money

    Random thoughts sometimes occur to me when I least expect it, usually when my brain has become tired.
    When I voice these thoughts at work or in other places, people may tell me, “Goldy? It’s time for you to go home.” Yes, ma’am.
    Here are two random thoughts of recent vintage:
    • If Bugs Bunny were an Emergency Medical Technician, would that make him a MedicHare?
    • If Daisy Duck got a job driving for United Parcel Service, would she be an UPS-a-Daisy?
    I wouldn’t blame you if you think that sounds Goofy — or Daffy.

    June 15, 2014

  • These two were part of the Not Top Ten

    Occasionally, at this time of year, I see reference to a “class orator” or a “class speaker.”

    Nothing wrong with that — people can call such things whatever they want, as far as I’m concerned — but it makes me wonder. Have “valedictorian” and “salutatorian” become politically incorrect, and I didn’t notice? It may come as a surprise to you, but I really have not kept up with what is politically correct or incorrect. That’s what people tell me, anyway. With some of them, it actually seems to be a compliment.

    June 8, 2014

  • Coming soon to a highway near you?

    People say to me, “Goldy? Can I ask you a stupid question?”

    In theory — and theory only — the correct response is: “The only stupid question is the one you don’t ask.” Not so much. There ARE stupid questions, some of them so stupid that to call them stupid is to damn them with faint praise. Other questions are — on the face of it — legitimate questions, but shouldn’t be treated as such ... not if you subscribe to the same philosophy that I do: Free entertainment is everywhere; all you have to do is wait, and it will come to you.

    June 1, 2014

  • This was a skill that proved very useful

    The Belmont Park stewards have decided to let California Chrome wear his nasal strip during the Run for the Carnations. Nasal strips usually are worn by people who snore and may have saved numerous marriages. It helps the Triple Crown hopeful to breathe, and some twolegged athletes wear nasal strips for the same reason. In this case, Chrome’s nasal strip may keep him from (wait for it) ... losing by a nose.

    May 25, 2014

  • He made a big splash by asking this question

    “I don’t know who you were talking to last night,” said Capt. Gary, “but you were talking and moaning in your sleep. Never heard you do that before.” Neither has anyone else, I said. Besides, I had told him not to be surprised if we had visitors. I wasn’t at the top of my game for a couple of days, and he said some of our friends asked him if I was all right. It’s not the first time for this, so now I’ll know to watch out for it. It can affect you and is not something to play around with — as our friend Cathy found out.

    May 18, 2014

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