Lots of my family and friends, my wife among them, have never understood why I wear boots all the year round. Especially in the summer when, in Alabama, it gets mighty hot and breaking out some running shoes or flip-flops might seem more appealing. But the explanation is simple, even if it is unacceptable.
I’ve always worn boots. When I was five, I wore cowboy boots with my shorts. As a skinny, squirrelly boy, to me they felt tough and mannish . . . two things that I wasn’t at all. As a teenager, the rock bands I liked were all pictured in boots—from Guns N’ Roses to the Allman Brothers Band. As a young man, I wore boots when I worked in restaurants and bars, because it didn’t matter if I got grease and other mess on them. So, when I was finally a grown man, who had become a writer and a schoolteacher, I was set in my ways and had no desire to transfer my allegiances to English-teacher loafers or dress-for-success patent-leather or even old-dude cool Converse All-Stars. No, it was going to be boots, no matter whether lace-up steel toes or pull-on brogans— it was going to be boots.
“Dirty Boots: A Column of Critical Thinking, Border Crossing, and Noblesse Oblige,” a weekly column published every Tuesday afternoon, offers a Deep Southern, Generation X perspective on life in the 21st century. To read find and read previous posts, click here for a full list.