Friday, September 4, 2009

Shoes on a wire

This image seems iconic or symbolic to me but I'm not sure what it means. These are in an upscale neighborhood albeit a 1/4 mile from a huge high school.

It conjures up the image of the junior high bully grabbing the required gym shoes from a hapless bloke who fearfully pleads "Aww c'mon man I need those". It is a power play with mean intentions.

We've all seen it. Is it purely an American thing? It speaks of waste, a perfectly good pair of shoes thrown away. In another place the bully would keep the shoes would he not? But here you just get another pair; it's not worth the trouble to get them down.

At this moment how many pairs of shoes are hanging thus? What is the life span of shoes on a wire? Do power companies routinely remove them or do they hang until the laces rot?

How hard is this to do? I've never tried it. Is it something you practice and get good at? "Oh, Hammer, he's the best, first try every time. I've never seen him miss." Is it a verb? Do you wire some shoes? Do people keep count like notches on your bed post or nicks in your scalping knife? "I am so on a roll. I wired three pair this week. I'm up to 26 and the last pair was some fine Nikes" There's a thought - does it mean more depending on the value of the shoes.

As it turns out, not surprisingly, I'm not the only one to consider this social phenomenon. Several websites give possible explanations: Wikipedia or The Straight Dope

I found it interesting. It is not always as I imagined. Some of the reasons given are benign, a kind of rite of passage, the shoes used are worn out or not needed and the one flinging is the owner. It happens in many parts of the world.

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