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Dec 07 2012

Gary needs a new pair of shoes

Gary Farber is a blogospherical fixture; a long-time member of the Skiffy community, an entertaining writer, and an all around good guy. He blogged for 11 years at Amygdala, and still holds forth at Obsidian Wings.

He’s also the guy who wrote my favorite piece of negative literary feedback I ever got for a blog post.

And as those of you who have followed him over the years might know, he’s kinda reluctantly used to being broke. Long-term disabilities have made it hard for him to match his income to his outgo. Which leads to situations like this one, which he documented Wednesday on his Evil Empire page:

A few minutes after coming inside from the drenching rain, where I’d put a last piece of garbage in the garbage can, the bottom half of my left sneaker fell off, rendering it unusuable. These were my Last Backup Pieces Of Footwear. This follows the sudden demise of my main pair of sneakers three weeks ago when the plastic in the upright part of the rear right heel completely jabbed through the cloth, turning the plastic into something resembling a syringe, or at least a knife. Since I was now wearing my Last Piece Of Backup Outside Footgear the last three weeks, I’ve been meaning to try to find replacements at a thrift store, or at least get my sizes from a new shoe/sneaker store, as the last time I had myself sized was in the 20th century. I’m now pondering how to get to such a store. Try to temporarily tape up one of these pairs of dead footwear somehow or other for one last use, I guess.

Gary lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, which had an Atmospheric River land on it this past weekend out of which several inches of rain precipitated, which makes walking around in duct-taped sneakers especially poignant. It’s supposed to rain again in a week. It’s hard enough to keep yourself afloat in the US with no real income if your feet aren’t swaddled in moist duct tape.

As someone who’s in slightly better shape — read “currently supporting two people on a freelance writer’s income” — I can imagine being exactly here in about three years. You burn through your personal economic seed corn. I had a good fulltime job about five years ago, and I am still taking advantage of the pair of boots I bought back then with that, um, what was it called? Oh right: “Disposable income.”

At some point in 2015 I may be reaching for the duct tape myself, who knows?

Gary’s got a PayPal account (the Other Evil Empire) reachable through the PayPal buttons in the Amygdala sidebar. A hundred of us giving him $3 each would mean he can get a pair of sturdy shoes and pair of sneakers. It’s maybe not the biggest evil in the world, or the cause with the greatest degree of personal suffering, but come on. He’s one of us. He doesn’t have shoes because he’s fallen through the United States’ otherwise unimpeachable social safety net. That’s just wrong.

40 comments

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  1. 1
    Inaji

    Donated.

  2. 2
    The Mellow Monkey: Non-Hypothetical

    I’ll need to actually set up a PayPal account, but I’m in. I’ve been literally shoeless before (house burned down in the middle of the night; all I had left was pajamas and smoke inhalation). The line between ordinary life and utter desperation can be a thin one stumbled over with barely any warning at times.

  3. 3
    Inaji

    I’ll need to actually set up a PayPal account

    Caerie, you don’t have to do that if you don’t wish. Click on the paypal button and you’ll have the option to pay as a one time guest.

  4. 4
    jesuslovesbags

    Donated

  5. 5
    Lofty

    That sucks. I did my bit.

  6. 6
    The Mellow Monkey: Non-Hypothetical

    Caine, oh excellent. Thanks!

  7. 7
    Pteryxx

    I assume being a one-time Paypal guest still requires a credit card?

  8. 8
    Inaji

    Pteryxx, yes, it does. Or a debit card.

  9. 9
    ImaginesABeach

    What the hell kind of country is this that we need to take up a collection for shoes?

  10. 10
    Pteryxx

    Thanks… good to know.

  11. 11
    Argle Bargle

    I’ll toss a few bucks at someone who needs shoes. There was a time when the only footgear I had was a pair of Army jungle boots with a broken lace.

  12. 12
    didgen

    Don’t have much, but I have enough to help someone get shoes.

  13. 13
    joalabaster

    Have gladly contributed a small amount as somebody who is appreciating being fortunate enough to be in a country where the safety net for people with chronic health conditions and/or contending with unemployment is much closer to being adequate.

  14. 14
    docsarvis

    Done. Buy some news shoes and groceries, Gary.

  15. 15
    Paul K

    Donated.

    Been there, when I was younger, healthier, alone, and didn’t need to care so much. Wouldn’t want to be there again.

  16. 16
    Dutchgirl

    The pharyngula horde looks good in a Santa hat. I did my part.

  17. 17
    Wolsey

    I was moved to donate.

  18. 18
    ms

    Donated

  19. 19
    Chuck

    Donated. Good luck.

  20. 20
    blondeintokyo

    Donated. Hope you get NICE shoes, Gary, that last you a long time. :)

  21. 21
    thebookofdave

    I deal with one Evil Empire, for this purpose alone. Happy Festivus, Gary!

  22. 22
    mirele

    I threw some money into the kitty. Better than giving it to the red kettle people, you know?

  23. 23
    amnesiphile

    Donated. Save your sole!

  24. 24
    nimuae

    Dusted off my Pay Pal account and donated.

  25. 25
    wondering

    I’ve duct-taped my shoes before. Sole was torn half off, tape kept it attached to the rest of the shoe. In.

  26. 26
    Marcus Ranum

    I had a momentary fantasy of selling a B2 bomber (used in good condition) on Ebay and buying everyone who needs ‘em in the entire country a nice pair of shoes. I sure with the defense industrial boffins would figure out how to make comfortable indestructible sneakers and hiking boots with all those trillion$ of dollars, instead of tools for dropping death and pain on strangers. :( This country’s priorities sure are fucked up.

  27. 27
    Marcus Ranum

    The pharyngula horde looks good in a Santa hat.

    Hey, watch it! Don’t wreck my war on christmas!!!

    He should picture my donation as having been ripped from the chest cavity of a smiling child. Or something more appropriate to the season.

  28. 28
    Left Handed Atheist

    Will be happy to donate. We’ve weathered the past few years better than most, thank Dog.

  29. 29
    Rike

    We’re all in this together! Done.
    Happy Holidays, Gary!

  30. 30
    Richard Smith

    When you’ve got a pretty good safety net like here in Canada, you sometimes forget it’s there, and how much you benefit, directly and indirectly, from its presence. Donated.

  31. 31
    Kilian Hekhuis

    Not having shoes sucks. Let us know whether he was able to get some.

  32. 32
    elysehart

    As a Jewish girl hailing from Orange County, California, I’d just like to say I have never in my life owned shoes even close to being worth $300. In fact, I don’t plan to own such a pair within my lifetime. How do we know he won’t go the way of that homeless dude who got those $100 shoes from that cop…..and we’ll just find him walking around SF with trenchfoot? Can’t we just get him $10 galoshes from Target?

    In conclusion….where are MY $300 shoes?!?! wah….

  33. 33
    Chris Clarke

    elysehart, you’re free to withhold donations if you think the person receiving them will spend them in a way of which you would not approve.

  34. 34
    Chris Clarke

    And for what it’s worth, Gary informs me he’s gotten a few pairs of used shoes from a thrift store. I do hope that’s humble enough to make elysehart feel like she’s not being unfairly deprived of shoes by comparison.

  35. 35
    Inaji

    elysehart:

    As a Jewish girl hailing from Orange County, California,

    Why on earth do you think this information ^ is in any way relevant? Smells of troll, oh my yes.

    I’d just like to say I have never in my life owned shoes even close to being worth $300.

    Aaw, poor widdle you. You do realize this statement doesn’t go with the handy stereotypes you set up in the previous sentence, right?

    How do we know he won’t go the way of that homeless dude who got those $100 shoes from that cop…..and we’ll just find him walking around SF with trenchfoot?

    Well, several pair of shoes, maybe some groceries, maybe a nice hoodie for the cold weather, maybe a bill or three paid…nah, you wouldn’t want that, would you? It’s downright scandalous!

    Idiot.

  36. 36
    Chris Clarke

    Thanks, Caine.

    I dunno what it is today, perhaps the looming sense of economic doom in this household as well, but I’m awfully close to offering Elyse a deprecated remark about quilled rodents. On fire.

    I ask myself what kind of fucking monster would begrudge internet friends and admirers teaming up to get someone they like a pair of shoes that would last more than a year and a half. And then I go, oh, right. They run the House of Representatives.

    But this thread’s about Gary, not my own anger, so I’ll leave it at that. Though if anyone wants to start another thread to buy me a right steel-toed Doc Martin, I’ll happily volunteer to use it to kick the likes of elyse out of this thread.

  37. 37
    Inaji

    Chris:

    I ask myself what kind of fucking monster would begrudge internet friends and admirers teaming up to get someone they like a pair of shoes that would last more than a year and a half. And then I go, oh, right. They run the House of Representatives.

    Well, you see, someone might not get shoes. That’s the height of wickedness. Or something. A while back, there was a post about a fellow atheist who was wanting to grant a final wish for his terminally ill daughter. We had a…person show up remonstrating us all for playing god and generally being icky because other kids were in greater need. She was a prime example of a fucking monster.

    I’m glad Gary got a few pairs of shoes, it says terrible things about our country when you have multitudes of people in the same situation. It’s not a fit way to live and I’m getting damn tired of a lot of people I care about finding themselves not even able to afford thrift store prices for basic items.

  38. 38
    chigau (違う)

    I have come close to $300 on shoes.
    Well, boots.
    Steel toes, steel shanks, CSA approved.
    or
    vibram soles, ankle-high, CSA approved.
    —–
    Yay Gary’s shoes.

  39. 39
    Kilian Hekhuis

    I ask myself what kind of fucking monster would begrudge internet friends and admirers teaming up to get someone they like a pair of shoes that would last more than a year and a half.

    Yeah, let alone, say, some money to replace a joyride crashed truck… The temerity of some people these days!

    That, or some people actually trust other people when they say yet some other people are decent and could need some community support. Glad to hear Gary can walk around again, it’s threads like this that restore my faith in humanity a tiny bit…

  40. 40
    Inaji

    Chigau:

    I have come close to $300 on shoes.
    Well, boots.
    Steel toes, steel shanks, CSA approved.
    or
    vibram soles, ankle-high, CSA approved.

    Now that I think on it, Mister’s work boots are around $300. His company pays $150 towards boots, he has to pick up the other half.

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