Recently I came across an attachment to some emails inviting people to take a tour of the new Parkland Hospital, consisting of two graphics showing guests what kind of shoes they could wear. I reached out to Parkland to ask why they cared about people's shoes, and spokesperson Katrina Keyes told me, "The selection for shoes is based on safety."
I would guess that means tripping, sliding or falling down. And that makes sense. Nobody wants a guest to trip, slide or fall down. I think at the time the invitations went out, the new Parkland was still in some stage of construction, so walking around might have been more perilous than in a finished building.
But even at that, the more I stared at the graphics, the more offended I became. They're telling me I can't wear my Tom's espadrilles because they don't have heels? How do heels make you more safe? They just catch on stuff.
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But I can wear "any leather, closed toe, sturdy sole men's dress shoe?" The slipperiest slidiest shoes I've got are leather-soled men's dress shoes — like ice skates under the right conditions.
And, c'mon. That's in there because old guys and business guys all wear those kinds of shoes, so even if those shoes aren't especially safe, nobody wants to tell a bunch of old guys and business guys to take off their shoes or go home.
I think Tom's shoes are in there by name only because Tom's shoes are communist. You know how that works. You buy a pair of Tom's shoes at Whole Foods, the Tom's shoe company gives a free pair to a communist somewhere in the world. That's why I buy them.
OK, you be the judge. You look at these warning posters and tell me this isn't just an expression of the tastes of old business guys. I want to know where motorcycle boots fall in the equation.