Thursday, May 6, 2010

Boots Stretched Here

I was riding along in the shuttle that goes from Wagner College to the Staten Island Ferry when I saw one of those fold up sidewalk signs standing outside an old hardware store. It read simply: "Boots Stretched Here." I couldn't help thinking about this marvelous and unusual service. Just when those new boots of yours are getting intolerably uncomfortable, you can always walk right into that old hardware store, quietly remove them from your stinging feet, and ask for a stretch. Who Knows? Maybe there are levels of stretches. A short stretch for five bucks and a long stretch for 15. Maybe even a super-sized stretch for 25. And there would have to be an overnight stretch for a cool 50.

I don't know about you, but such thoughts do make my imagination run. How about a sign that says "Backs Scratched Here." For a buck you could enjoy a quick scratch and for another sawbuck they'll find that unreachable spot that has been driving you crazy and give it a good rub.

I would buy from a clothing store that displayed a sign saying "Clothes Tried On Here." Imagine someone exactly your size who for a price would try on all those pants and shirts that you ordinarily have to go into the dressing room for. Then you have to come out to show your companion the fit, then return for another try on. With someone else trying on your clothes, the agony of clothes shopping would ease considerably.

Best of all might be a strange and imposing storefront bearing the tagline "Ideas Tested Here." You could go in there and mention solar energy or charter schools or world government and they would give each of these noble ideas a good test. How this would be done, I have no idea. But it would be reassuring to have a place where you could go to test your ideas, whatever they might be. You have to keep the faith. If they can stretch your boots, surely they can give your ideas a good spin around the analytical block.

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