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Frisco Del Rosario writes about chess960, women's basketball, minor league baseball, unsupported collectible card games, lettering in comic books, and Golden Age movies

Got a job. Went on vacation. 06/06/2018

I’m traveling to the North Pole, or at least the northernmost city in the world.

I didn’t want to go on this once-in-a-lifetime voyage, or even talk about it, unless I had a clear conscience that might come with a job. What was I supposed to say to the landlady: “June is another month in which I will give you no money, and rather than search for a job next week, I’m going to Norway”?

The Berkeley Chess School, which has contracted me as a teacher since 1990, saved my butt by giving me a media gig, though I had to risk accepting their offer while saying: “For my first week, I’ll take vacation.”

The trip became real when I bought shoes named after a mountain range, which must be better suited for the Arctic than Chuck Taylors.

There’s a local sporting goods chain that seems to acquire every overstocked pair of athletic and outdoors shoes in the country, and make them a loss leader, because consumers have to walk through the expensive stuff to get to the shoes.

I survived my first month as a freelance writer in 1997 by reselling shoes from this place. I bought two pairs of first-generation Air Jordans in red and blue, and they sat in the closet because they were uncomfortable. Years pass, some company appears to make offers for old American sneakers, then flip them to Japanese kids. They were pleased to buy my Air Jordans. I envisioned some Japanese kid buying used Air Jordans for hundreds of American dollars, picturing himself flying like Michael, then hobbling around the court in those ugly, clunky Nikes. He’d keep wearing them, though, like they were Steve Martin’s “cruel shoes”.

In that story, a shoe salesman makes a bundle by telling ladies they can’t have these ‘cruel shoes’, not at any price, no way, no how, until they demand that he fleece them. But the cruel shoes are impossible to wear, returned at a depreciated rate, and so on.

Thanks for making the original Air Jordans uncomfortable, Nike, because I really needed that money in 1997.

Categories arctic

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