(By Silas Grant)
In June 1997, I had two monumental events take place. I turned 18 and I graduated from high school. My graduation and birthday were 3 days apart. As a result, I received a bunch of gifts and money. I remember looking at my money and realizing that after I took care of clothes and basic needs, I had money left to buy two pairs of the latest shoes on the market. There were three hot shoes at that time: The Jordan XII (the version in the pic above), The Nike Air “Bakin” and the newest craze at the time – The Nike Foamposite. My older sister drove me to the store to buy some shoes. She talked me out of buying the Foamposites. That was probably the worst decision of my life…..but oh well.
So I bought the Jordans and the “Bakins”. Out of the two, I liked the Jordans a lot more. And it just so happened that the Jordans required more cleaning than the “Bakins” because of the white leather. I was 18, and as a kid you do silly things. I used to wipe my shoes down after every wear. I also had a pair of tan Timberlands that I wouldn’t wear if I thought that it would rain that day. There were times when I called my parents to pick me up if the rain came unexpectedly. Other times I would find plastic trash bags and tie them over the suede boots. Other times, I’d tough it out and chance getting the boots wet. I’d get home and use household products to get the rain stains out. The heel on the boot would wear down. I found out about “taps” and I’d go to the shoe store and get “taps” put on. Sometimes they’d wear off and I’d glue them back on at school just so I’d have time to get to the shoe shop after class.
Well needless to say, I took care of my shoes. I was never a “sneakerhead”. I was simply a middle class kid who was well aware of the fact that if I messed up a pair of shoes, my father, who was a trashman and my mother, a payroll clerk, weren’t interested in buying $120 shoes every month. So when I got these Jordans, I kept up the maintenance. I used to get compliments on my shoes. People used to think that I just bought the shoes because they were so clean. I’d take a toothbrush and soap and wash the white walls of the shoe.
One night in college (Hampton University), I was up studying for a “Public Speaking” course. In this class, I was doing well. But I would eventually get an automatic “F” because I had too many tardies. It was a 9am course (Smirk). Well, I got that bad news a few weeks before the end of the semester. But I figured that I’d still go hard, get great test scores and great speech scores and the teacher would renege. “Wrong…WRONG” (Charlie Murphy voice).
So I took my studying session down to the dorm’s lobby area. In my room, I’d fall asleep and nothing would get done. Downstairs, I’d be a little more focused. So, I’m crunching away. It’s 4 am and I’m tired. I take my stuff and I go upstairs. Well not everything. See, I left my Jordans downstairs. I took my shoes off and forgot that I’d worn them downstairs. I walked around the dorm in socks from time to time. But I figured if I kept shoes on, I’d stay awake in the cold dorm lobby area. But, I got tired and took them off. I forgot them, woke up the next morning, ran downstairs and they were gone. I went to the class late, missed my speech and as mentioned earlier, I got the automatic “F”.
I learned a valuable lesson. Care for what you have. We spend a lot of times wanting things that aren’t in our possession. We’re always seeking something outside of our reach to validate us. Take value in what you have. Take care of your business (pun intended). Don’t worry about the newest tools if you can’t afford them now. Don’t worry about advertising dollars if you don’t have the money now. Spend time with your spouse, family, child(ren) or significant other. You don’t have much time, spend it wisely on what you love, but also those who you love. Always seek to get better and go after what’s better for you. But, appreciate the “now” in your life.
The moment you “sleep” on what you have, is the moment that it all can be gone…..
(by Silas Grant)