That Guy

That Guy is a Herald on Sunday columnist

That Guy: Union jackboot sees stink rise over hybrid shoes

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Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

This week I had hoped to bring you photos of the hybrid shoes I was planning to construct - the "Gucci Nomad".

If you'll recall, I had to do the work myself because my cobbler refused to do the job.

He said converting my Italian leather dress shoes - by attaching to them a thick, muffin-like gelatinous rubber sole from a pair of 1980s Nomads - was unethical.

He also thought I would look like a prat.

But since last week's column I have received an unprecedented amount of pressure from the Cobblers' Union and the Council for the Protection of Good Taste in Urban Footwear.

The pressure has come in the form of legal letters and cobblers have formed a picket line outside my house.

They have been camped there since last Sunday and have shown no sign of moving on.

It has made getting a range of other footwear repairs very convenient.

But I have been getting direct verbal abuse from some of these protesters, and was even doused with a container of Gran's Remedy for smelly feet as I exited my car.

I even had to move my family out of town temporarily to a private and secure safehouse after a corduroy loafer tied to a rock was thrown through my bedroom window.

Fearing for my security, I had all the locks on my house changed, but when I tried to get copies of the new key made, none of the locksmiths or key-cutters in Auckland would take on the job.

This is union rabble-rousing at its worst.

The final straw came on Thursday night, when I awoke to see a large crucifix alight on my lawn.

I can only assume it had something to do with the protesting cobblers, as a copy of the Cobblers' Hippocratic Oath was attached to a dead cat swinging from the crossbeam.

For the ignorant, here's what the Cobblers' Oath said: "I swear to fulfil, to the best of my ability and judgment, this covenant:

"I will respect the hard-won scientific gains of those cobblers in whose steps I walk, and gladly share such knowledge as is mine with those who are to follow.

"I will apply, for the benefit of the sick, all measures [that] are required, avoiding those twin traps of over-repairs and repair-istic nihilism.

"I will remember that there is art to cobbling as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy and understanding may outweigh the cobbler's knife or the cobbler's glue.

"I will not be ashamed to say 'I know not', nor will I fail to call in my colleagues when the skills of another are needed for a sole's recovery.

"I will respect the privacy of my clients, for their problems are not disclosed to me that the world may know.

"Most especially must I tread with care in matters that pit gelatinous against Italian soles.

"If it is given to me to save a shoe, all thanks.

"But it may also be within my power to take a shoe; this awesome responsibility must be faced with great humbleness and awareness of my own frailty.

"Above all, I must not play at God."

The copy was signed by Chris Grand, Wizard of the Cobblers' Union.

This experience has forced me to look at a pair of shoes in an entirely different light.

I have temporarily put my unorthodox shoe modifications on hold, but in the meantime my most immediate concern is how to explain to the neighbours what happened to their cat.

- Herald on Sunday

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