Rob's Soapbox Archives
May 5th, 2008
NO MATTER THE REASON,
Many months ago, I began noticing sneakers, usually kids’ sized sneakers, slung over telephone lines and power wires. As I asked various people of their origin, I received a variety of answers. Upon further review and research, I have discovered that there are actually a number of reasons why people are engaging in this dopey activity, and almost all of them are idiotic.
For starters, by definition, any tradition that has multiple origins and motivations is fairly stupid. There are not multiple reasons why we say the pledge of allegiance before school or sing the National Anthem before a ball game; there is one; to honor America. There are not a myriad of “made up” origins as to why we lay a wreath at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier every Memorial Day; there is one; to honor the fallen. Any “tradition” whose origins are multiple and cloudy begins with multiple strikes against it and a cloudy future.
The most concise synopsis of most of the possible reasons for slinging sneakers can be found on the urban legends website, Snopes (as indicated by italicized and underlined print. My comments follow in normal type):
All across the United States, you'll encounter discarded shoes hanging from wires, poles, and trees. Theories as to what these shoes signify abound, but, contrary to what one hears, there's no one right answer. Who put the shoes there and why? The list of explanations goes on. Suggestions include:
- They serve as roadside memorials for innocent children who have been the victims of car accidents. This, of course, is moronic because all roadside memorials are nothing more than lame forms of symbolism that disallow the healing process. The proper place to memorialize a dead child is in a cemetery. I have also always wondered about the logic behind memorializing a vehicular accident victim by erecting a memorial that distracts other drivers from the road, thus potentially causing additional fatalities.
- They are some form of ode to an old, southern tradition involving cowboy boots. How neat. Perhaps we could also pay homage to another old, southern tradition; racism.
- They are some form of ode to a military custom indicating various levels of basic training, boot camp, etc have been completed. If true, let’s leave military traditions to the military, shall we? They’ve earned it.
Regardless of the reason, I have made my judgment; sneaker slinging is just another in a long line of idiotic, asinine, worthless American gimmicks that we have created out of boredom, complacency, arrogance and ignorance. Only in this stupid country would we create such a dumb practice. The only thing remotely legitimate about this whole thing would be watching how many times a grieving father would have to toss the shoes up before he actually got them to properly sling across the power lines. How many black eyes have people gotten watching the sneakers plummet back to earth directly into their face? Apparently, nothing heals like a lack of physical coordination.
In a nation that screams of a slowing economy and a growing divide between the upper and middle classes, how exactly is it that we justify tossing perfectly good sneakers over hanging wires? It’s no wonder the terrorists hate us…hell, I am starting to hate us.