Marks and Remarks
Food for the Mind and Eye

No. 0003, January 21, 2015


Copyright 2015 by S. W. Paul Wyszkowski


      Portrayed above are my official 2015 sandals, the only pair of its kind in the world. How so? you ask. I will tell you. The plan was to stop collecting sandals as of the end of 2014 - I've been at it for decades and have long run out of room - but something kept nagging at me, telling me I wasn't yet ready. Something was still missing from my collection: a perfect pair of sandals. No such thing, you say. You may be right.

      I have a nearly perfect pair of Chaco flips (they don't flop, hence just "flips"). And I have four pairs of serious walking sandals which I wear almost exclusively because they are so much better than all the rest (they are all Chacos). But, good as they are, they are not perfect. Aside from some minor mechanical problems, they all have significant aesthetic issues.

      Now, men are not supposed to be overly concerned with aesthetics, rather the opposite. The standard informal style for men, as best I can tell, is grundge, including footwear. But as a visual artist I have a problem with that. I am not one of the beautiful people and nothing can disguise that, but I do like to present myself as reasonably well put together (in my own opinion, of course, which may diverge from that of the fashion trendsetters).

      Back in the '70s when sandals were simple things I did consider making my own but never did. Probably just as well. Sandal makers were dime a dozen so I had a pair custom made. They were pretty but far from perfect and anyway I lost them shortly after I got them. Now sandals have gone high tech. Hand-crafting doesn't cut it anymore. This means that choice is now limited to what the manufacturers consider marketable and on the bell curve of sandals buyers I am an outlier.

      Recently, the Chaco people opened up the possibility of "designing your own Chacos". There's a limited number of parameters that can be tweaked the principal one being strap colors and patterns. Naturally, in the available selection of straps there is not one that meets my aesthetic specs. So I ordered a pair of bespoke Chacos with pure white straps. Then by a complex process involving serendipity, luck, and a near disaster I dyed them a nearly perfect light gray unlike anything on the market (see above).

      So they're not perfect. On this earthly plane of existence perfection is something we aspire to but can never achieve. And when we stop trying for perfection, that is when we start dying. ("How did we get from picking a pair of sandals to death and dying?" Prickles wants to know).

Copyright 2015 by S. W. Paul Wyszkowski

Prickles trying on my nearly perfect Chaco flips.

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