I was round at the in-laws a few weeks ago, and my wife and I were talking about going shopping. I mumbled something about looking for some work boots. “You don’t need any more shoes,” my wife pointed out. She’s right: I have far too many pairs of shoes, because I can’t resist a decent pair of clumpy boots.
My father-in-law overheard the conversation, and it piqued his interest. “So how many pairs of shoes do you have?” he asked. Not sure, I replied. More than ten, anyway. “Ten pairs? Ten pairs of shoes?” Yep. Probably more than that. “Jings! That’s a lot of shoes!” It is, yeah. “I’ve probably only got three pairs!”
I didn’t know it at the time, but my father-in-law had found a new obsession. He’s a great bloke – we get on like a house on fire – but from time to time he gets… ideas. And as I discovered this morning, his latest idea is shoes.
It turns out that my father-in-law has been asking everybody – family, friends, colleagues – how many pairs of shoes they own. Seven pairs. Ten pairs. Twelve pairs. The more he asked, the more he felt that his own shoe collection wasn’t big enough – so he decided to go shoe-shopping.
My father-in-law doesn’t shop like you or I would shop, because he has absolutely no patience. He tends to run into a shop, pick something at random, shout “that’s fine! Fine! Genuinely, it’s fine!” and thrust some money at the cashier before running out of the shop again.
So, he went shoe shopping yesterday. True to form, he ran into a shoe shop, grabbed the first pair of shoes he saw, tried them on, and bought them. He went home and showed his wife.
“They look awfully big,” she said.
“No, they’re fine. Genuinely, they’re fine. I’m fine!”
“Are you sure? Let’s see them on.”
So my father-in-law puts on the shoes. They’re big clown shoes, the tips extending in front of him like twin canoes. They’re clearly several sizes too big.
“See? They’re fine! Fine! Genuinely! They’re fine!”
My mother-in-law asks him to take off the shoes and let her have a look. He does, and she reaches into the shoes, removes all the paper stuffing, and gets him to put them on again.
“Jings! They’re too big!”