Crocs and Croc-wannabe's are springing up everywhere again, which reminds me of an encounter I observed between Holly and the fashion police.
"You got the wrong ones," her friend announced, with eyes downcast at Holly's new shoes, which were pink, plastic, and closely resembled those wildly trendy Crocs.
Apparently, the resemblance wasn't close enough for Holly's friend, whose tiny toes sported the 'right' ones.
"Whoa," I said reflexively, "they're fine shoes. And really, what makes any shoe the right shoe or the wrong shoe?" Holly bit her lip. She'd made a major fashion faux-pas, and no amount of mommy-reframing was gonna save her.
But really, what gives? At the time, these two were six years old. Six!
That night at bedtime, a tucked-in and teary Holly sniffed and asked if we could possibly go to the shoe store as soon as she woke up.
I scooted her over in her bed to make room for Mommy. For this conversation, I needed to be comfortable.
"You know something, Miss Holly? I've been thinking about the whole shoe she-nanigan," I began. My silliness elicited a teeny-weeny smile from my daughter, so I continued. "Let's think about this, shall we? She (a cutie-pie who is forgiven but shall remain nameless) spent twenty-nine dollars plus tax on her shoes, and you spent nine. So who's the smarty- pants now?"
Yeah, baby. Big smile from Holly. Encouraged, I embarked on a terribly erudite philosophical monologue about consumer trends, perceived value and just how much fun it can be to think critically about fads and to just Payless (I don't know if they sell Croc wannabe's, but I couldn't resist the wordplay).
We're talking plastic, people. I'm a bargain hunter at my core, but plastic shoes? Well, the buck stops here. I draw the line at one pair of flip-flops per customer. And anyhow, buying all of those chunky plastic shoes just unduly supports the petroleum industry. I don't know about you, but recent headlines about the broken oil well continuing to gush unabated into the Gulf makes me question the wisdom of that game plan. Not so environmentally friendly. I'm not knockin' plastics altogether, mind you. We've benefited greatly from plastics used in the medicine (catheters, IV's, etc.) - just for starters - but think about it.
What will archeologists say about us in two-hundred years when they unearth all of our colorful, clownish crocs in croc-choked landfills? Will they scratch their heads and wonder - not just about our peculiar fashion sense - but about how we let down our polar bear brothers and sea turtle sisters by picking up so many crocs on our shopping sprees? Perhaps Holly and I will rethink our shoe buying habits altogether. Become more discerning and all that.
So to heck with the fashion police. (But do I have to give up my Teva's?)
Jennifer DuBose, M.S., C.A.S., is a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice in Batavia.
See more of Jennifer's stories here.