With the Summer Games underway in London I am thinking of the Olympians. I don’t mean the athletes competing in the games; I’m talking about Olympians the sneakers.
For those of you who have no idea what Olympians are I’ll explain: They were knockoffs of popular sneakers that were sold in discount shoe stores like Fayva Shoes, which was the 80’s precursor to Payless Shoes only with less style.
There were only two problems with Olympians:
1. Nobody would ever mistake them for the shoes they were trying to copy.
2. They were the only shoes my parents would buy me in the mid 80’s and I hated them for it.
Look, I realize now that this is a stupid thing to get upset about but when I was 11-14 years old I desperately wanted to fit in and I felt that it was my knockoff shoes and not my crippling shyness or general awkwardness that was keeping me from making friends. Surely if i had name brand shoes I’d be the mayor of middle school.
After my parents split up my father was primarily responsible for buying shoes for my brother, sister and me. Since he was buying shoes for three kids it meant a trip to Fayva Shoes where in the mid 80’s you could get three knockoff pairs of sneakers for around $50-$60. These trips always ended in me stubbornly refusing to try any of the shoes on until my father threatened to murder me. It was nobody’s finest hour.
Later, when I was older I got a job and bought my own, name brand shoes. I discovered that nobody liked me then either. It was nice of my father to not say “I told you so.”