Friday 3 June 2016

Saint Ken

In my late teens and early twenties, I fancied myself something of a hippie. I wore the typical jeans and t-shirts, sometimes tie-dyed, I listened to the best music of the century and I believed that my generation had the opportunity and will to change society. It was a wonderful time and I retain wonderful memories.

We didn’t change the world as much as it needs to be changed, but that’s what happens when life gets in the way of living. Historians will tell the tale, but I suspect that we will be a footnote in the gradual change to become Aquarians.
One thing I could never do that kept me from thinking I was a full fledged member of my generation was wear those cool buffalo sandals from India that head shops sold. I could never get comfortable with the thong thingy going between my big toe and the one next in line. I tried many, many times, but I could never buy a shoe I knew I would never wear. I wore sandals, but they were the type with a band across the top of the foot and a heel piece. Old man sandals! The only thing missing was black knee high socks.
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It may seem like a small thing, but I knew that I would never be a messiah sent by God to teach the people a better way of living. All messiahs wear sandals, the kind with the thong thingy. No self respecting saviour would wear Reeboks or Nike runners when feeding the masses, healing the sick or raising the dead. A career in the spiritual world was out, all because I didn’t like how a particular type of shoe felt.

Fast forward forty years and those buffalo sandals have been replaced by flip-flops that come in all the colours of the rainbow and many different styles. Sure there are flip-flops that have a band across the top, but they aren’t cool or stylish. I still have my old sandals and some Teva sandals that are sort of cool when you look like you are about to go into the back country, but people wonder why you are wearing them shopping when you could be wearing flip-flops.
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I thought that I had come to grips with my footwear shortcomings. I live in a cold climate for the most part and no one looks twice when you are dressed for cooler weather. It is Calgary after all and the temperature is known to fluctuate hour to hour. Besides, cowboy boots are more than acceptable year round.

Then we went to Hawaii for a vacation. Can you imagine? I was in a place where EVERYBODY wears flip-flops. The whole state, all nine islands! They call them slippahs there, but flip-flops they are. I had my big old clunky Tevas, and a pair of water shoes but they really don’t make the grade in Hawaii. We have been there a few times and every time I keep thinking that I will be asked to put on a pair of slippahs or leave paradise. Maybe Karma is holding me back from spending more of my life in paradise because I can’t deal with that thong thingy between my toes.
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Today I decided that Karma and God won’t have that to criticise about me any longer. I bought a pair of cheap flip-flops and come hell or high water, I will learn to wear those damned things. So far I have managed to wear them for a while but they feel very weird and every now and then I am tempted to toss them in the garbage. Most martyrs have had to put up with discomfort, some live in cool damp caves, some wear hair shirts, some live with lepers, prostitutes and orphaned children. I keep telling myself that I will be able to wear them for another few minutes, and hour, tomorrow and maybe even Sunday. They may never be comfortable, but in time I will get used to them.
Who knows, maybe I will someday live with leprous, child prostitutes in a cave making clothing out of my own hair. There will be a place for Saint Ken of the Flip-Flops in Paradise!
Image result for flip flops in hawaii

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