Das Boot

by Marinka on November 17, 2010

You know when you’re on the brink of a nervous collapse and everyone is like “just blog about it! Get it off your chest! You’ll feel better!” and you’re all “if I blog about it, then the brink of a nervous collapse will seem like a vacation destination, because if I actually get this shit out I’ll be in full blown nervous breakdown and I won’t even look like Angelina Jolie in Girl, Interrupted which takes the whole silver lining out of a nervous breakdown.” And also, when I say everyone, I mean the voices in my head, so let’s go ahead and put that in the minus column.

It all started one Monday, three weeks ago when I was putting on my boots and my Left Boot zipper broke. I hope that you don’t think that I’m being overly dramatic when I say that I consider the boot zipper breaking the modern day equivalent of the God reaching down to smite me. Because, seriously, outside of Sarah Palin’s Alaska on the Discovery Channel, what could be more annoying?

But I’m not one to take adversity laying down, mostly because it’s hard to pour wine in that position, so I presented myself and my boot to the local cobbler. The good news was that the cobbler could save the boot! A simple zipperectomy would be performed, followed shortly by a separation from me of $30.

The boot would be ok! This was wonderful news!

I was reunited with my boot a few short days later, and we went to town. We walked the streets, we took in the sights. Except, OH NO! The Right Boot zipper started to fray. And also snag. Fray and snag and come apart.

I didn’t understand how this could be happening so soon after the Left Boot Zipper Incident. What the hell happened to Lightning Never Striking Twice? I would really appreciate it if the laws of physics and Benjamin Franklin didn’t let me down.

And then the unthinkable happened. The heel of Right Boot fell the fuck off. I had to limp home like an animal. An animal who was wearing a boot whose heel feel off. I’m lucky that I didn’t get Endangered Specied and shit.

So I take Right Boot to the cobbler with the whole Heel Trauma and a Level Orange Zipper Alert.

And the cobbler says that when they replace the heel, they need to see the second boot, to match it or some such nonsense. I mean, I totally see this scam from a mile away (thanks to my infra-red night vision goggles) but I don’t want to enrage someone who holds my Boot Happiness in his hands, so I agree. And I bring the Left Boot in. Left Boot is obviously upset and nervous because he is still recovering from the zipperectomy. But I reassure him that it’ll be okay, that we all care about him and want only what’s best for him, and he’s all “What about Right Boot?” and I’m all “WHO? Who’s Right Boot? You’re crazy! You know I’m a monoped!”

So a few days pass. Sadly and bootlessly, and then I go to the cobbler with $60 to get my boots.

And I get them.

Gorgeous new heels.

Shiny boots.

EXCEPT, DEAR LORD IN HEAVEN, WHY IS the Right Boot Zipper still frayed and on Orange Alert?

The Dear Lord In Heaven wasn’t answering, so I had to ask the cobbler.

“Oh no,” he explained. “We replaced the zipper in the Left Boot!”

“Left Boot?” I asked. “But you fixed Left Boot a few weeks ago.”

“No, I don’t think so.”

After what seemed like a few lifetimes of this fabulous exchange, I waved the white flag. (Although to be honest, I would have waved any kind of flag that I’d been handed.)

“Okay, I will pay you what you ask and I will leave,” I told him. Because I’m bad-ass.

“I can see you’re not happy,” the clairvoyant cobbler told me.

I conceded that this wasn’t the high point of my life.

So he took Right Boot for Zipper Replacement Therapy.

I’m scared to pick Right Boot up. I don’t know how Octopuses do it.

Thank you in advance for your prayers.

One year ago ...

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{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

Elizabeth November 17, 2010 at 1:43 am

Well thank Christ he’s not a surgeon. “Oh, I was supposed to amputate the OTHER foot? Oops!”

I will keep your boots “in my thoughts”, which is atheist for “good luck lady – the universe is clearly trying to kill you.”


November 17, 2010 at 1:44 am

I’ve totally given up on Manhattan cobblers. I always feel they’re out to make me miserable and charge me to do so. Not to scare you, but seven years ago, I took in my favorite, favorite pair of Nine West genuine leather platform shoes. These shoes were magic! During the day they made me a sexy professional and on Friday nights I was sexy & fun! I wore those shoes into the ground. One day I notice they’re looking a bit frayed. Decided to take them to the cobbler for some much needed TLC. What did I get back two days later? A pair of brown, sensible Naturalizer shoes. I’m not sure about now, but 7 years ago, Naturalizer shoes were shoes my mom wore. We had a heated conversation where he was persistent about me being crazy and those being the shoes I dropped off. And to top it off , not only did he try to push these shoes off on me, he tried to charge me $90 more than what my original bill was.
I so miss those shoes.
Right Boot is in my prayers.


Ester Jean December 2, 2011 at 1:11 pm

oh my gosh, this made me glad I have only had cheap shoes that I could stand to part with when the time came. I would have gone insane at that point! Holy canolie!


November 17, 2010 at 3:06 am

My first question would be what the fuck is a cobbler besides one of those mushy desserts you eat.
Then I wondered why you didn’t take your $90 and invest in a new pair of shiny.

Obviously I’m boot ignorant.


From Belgium November 17, 2010 at 5:08 am

I’m sorry to read that you have become the victim of the cobbler maffia. They are really mean bastards.


November 17, 2010 at 8:05 am

I need to move to NYC and become a boot cobbler. I wonder how my stiletto whisperer in OH is still in business – he’s that cheap. Obviously the market is in NY.


I'm Nate's Mom November 17, 2010 at 9:23 am

At least you can fit your legs into boots. My calves (cows?) are too large to zip a boot around*. In fact, a sales woman actually tried to sell me a pair that were leather on the front and stretchy fabric on the back. Last time I checked, I wasn’t working on a street corner, so no, thanks.

*Disclaimer: I’m a runner.


November 17, 2010 at 9:47 am

$60 to fix the wrong zipper?

Two words for you: Duct tape.


MFA Mama
November 17, 2010 at 9:48 am

“Okay, I will pay you what you ask and I will leave,” I told him. Because I’m bad-ass.

“I can see you’re not happy,” the clairvoyant cobbler told me.



November 17, 2010 at 11:18 am

$30 to initially fix a pair of shoes? My heart is starting to fray and snag.


Loukia November 17, 2010 at 11:33 am

I am laughing so hard right now. Poor you… and your poor boots! And the crazy mix-up. Seriously, though, there are few things worse than having a heel break off a pair of shoes as you’re just walking along your merry way… I mean, it’s EMBARRASSING. I’ve had this happen to be before. I limped my way to the nearest shoe store. Good Luck to your boots!


November 17, 2010 at 12:18 pm

Marinka, I’m sorry, but I’ll have to stop reading your blog if you continue to post entries like this one. It’s just too stressful. I am empathetically seething over ever aspect of this story: Shoddy craftsmanship! Thievery! Betrayal! Stupidity! You just wanna put on your f’ing boots and get on with your day! How germaine is this story to these vexing times we are all struggling through! Also, as the grandson of a Manhattan cobbler, I am shamed by the behavior of your local craftsman. Any rage you feel over this incident is entirely justified.


I'm Nate's Mom November 17, 2010 at 1:05 pm

Again, I’ve been duped by a non gender specific name. All this time, Ive thought you were a girl! This happened to me on Steamy’s blog, when I thought poor Jules was a girl, too. Must refocus my perception of this new reality.


November 17, 2010 at 2:11 pm

Believe me, if you saw me throw a softball, you’d still think I was a girl. 😉


Miss Britt
November 17, 2010 at 12:29 pm

I’m impressed that you didn’t just throw out the old pair and buy a new one. Not that *I* would do something so environmentally irresponsible, but I’ve heard it happens.


Jeanne November 17, 2010 at 12:41 pm

There’s a play on words here between “shod” and “shoddy,” but I can’t figure out what it is. And “shoe-in.” That should come in here, too.

I have to get back to work. Good luck with that.


joeinvegas November 17, 2010 at 1:52 pm

No wonder people complain about a throw-away society, where even if it’s repairable it costs more to fix than buy new.


barbara sigelbaum
November 17, 2010 at 1:57 pm

The last time I read about a cobbler, I was reading Charles Dickens. I enjoy you more.


Kimberly November 17, 2010 at 2:02 pm

Stop buying cheap boots.

Just yesterday, I was at the Annual Insulting Of The Cheap Shoe Leather by St. Francis Of The Local Shoe Repair.


Marinka November 17, 2010 at 5:47 pm

They weren’t cheap! That’s the whole reason that I got them repaired instead of flinging them in the first place. Now, of course, I’ve invested tons of money in them. When my son gets engaged, he’ll probably give his fiance my boots instead of a ring.


Ester Jean December 2, 2011 at 1:20 pm

My brother once dated a gal who was a millionaire, and she asked him to take a box to the dump for her. When he looked in the box, it was 30+ pairs of black leather shoes – all in MY SIZE! They were Nine West… and a bunch of other nice kinds of shoes that are too expensive for my classless self to know about. I claimed several pairs that served me well. One pair of Nine West platform heels, the hottest and most comfortable pair of heels I have ever wore, were stolen from me once when I became [too] inebriated at a wedding (that or I flung them into a waist-high field of grass in a fit of joy). The other pair broke down on me in Anchorage, Alaska and I could not find a cobbler anywhere in the city who would work on them. They wouldn’t even rip me off by saying they could repair…. Dicks. So now I buy cheap boots again and my heart is never broken 🙁


annie November 17, 2010 at 2:26 pm

I’m sorry but I’m cracking up at your pain!! I do however, have a word of advice. Next time, because we all know there will be a next time since you seem to draw Godly smite to you like butts to a dog, take a big black marker and write “THIS BOOT” in big bold letters across the front. Surgeons do that all the time and hardly ever -ectomy the wrong thing.


November 17, 2010 at 5:27 pm

Am I the only one who keeps thinking about making cobbler tonight?


Des AKA @StressFreeBaby November 17, 2010 at 10:30 pm

Am I the only one who can’t stop singing “These boots are made for walking?” I say we all pitch in and treat you to a new pair of boots to go kick the cobbler’s butt.
“One of these days these boots are gonna walk all over you (if they still have a heel and a zipper)”.


November 17, 2010 at 11:43 pm

Only go to Peruvians!


Deborah November 18, 2010 at 1:53 am

Lordy they must have been expensive boots…because now they could be considered an investment!
No boots here, it’s subtropical. I bought a new pair of thongs (flip flops..whatever you new Yorkers call them.) fromTarget for $2.00 this week.
I wonder what your cobbler would do to them?


Deborah November 18, 2010 at 1:55 am

Oh, I’m reminded of the story of the Cobbler and the Elves.
Perhaps your cobblers elves don’t like him.


Lady Jennie November 18, 2010 at 5:19 am

In the despair of these times, take comfort in the fact that you have a very funny way with words.


the mama bird diaries
November 18, 2010 at 8:13 am

I’m upset just reading this post. I really hope you get boot justice. A harrowing tale indeed.


Jann Mirchandani November 18, 2010 at 8:31 am

I am sorry for your troubles. My thoughts are with you as you and your boots struggle, together, through this difficult time. Clearly, you love each other very much.

All the best.


November 18, 2010 at 12:50 pm

Bet the cobbler’s giving your boots to his children right now.

I know. I’m an optimist.

(Seriously, wars have started over less than this.)


ladyday November 18, 2010 at 9:24 pm

Ahhh Marinka I too have special boots. Boots I have had repaired repeatedly for over 20 years. No, I’m not kidding. They are the most comfortable boots ever (and I look cute as hell in them). Every time I take them in to have the heel fixed they tell me “This is the last time. I don’t think we can fix them anymore”. But I keep bringing them back and they keep resoling and reheeling them. I could never find a suitable replacement. Trust me, I’ve tried. If you ever come to the Philly area, bring your boots and I’ll hook you up.


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