Mind over shoes
A new pair of shoes or new mind set?
By Sanaz Fotouhi
February 11, 2004
We just stepped into the Chinese Year of the Monkey
about two weeks ago, which means that according to Chinese tradition,
not allowed to buy shoes for the first two or three weeks into
the year. It is bad luck. Guess what that means in various malls
in Hong Kong: shoe sale. Money hungry shop owners reduce the prices
of their shoes to lure even the most of the superstitious into
breaking tradition and buy shoes. For me and foreigners like me,
it is just "yey... shoes are half price."
So, a few days ago I step into this shoe shop in
a fancy mall, looking around, picking up leather boots and looking
at the prices,
which were quartered, though still not cheap... I tried on a
few pairs, of different colors, lengths. Thinking what I would
wear them with, etc. And it came to me... and I counted... (the
ones I could remember at least) that I have at least fifteen
plus pairs of shoes. I convinced myself, after a very long time,
no matter how cheap they were I didn't need them...
I came home, regretting why I had not bought the pair of boots.
It would have looked so well with my new jeans, and I
could have looked better, and different for the new year...
Later in the night I was working on something which
involved thinking about the trip I had recently taken back to Iran
during the Christmas
holidays when I was lucky enough to have a chance to visit Professor
Hessabi's home and museum. Then I remembered something really
incredible which made me feel ashamed for my regret.
In the very small scale Hessabi museum, hidden inside
the vast Hessabi household, all sorts of objects were displayed,
many diverse and various certificates, diplomas and degrees that
Professor Hessabi had gained during his lifetime, along with books,
articles, various personal objects and a few pairs of his shoes.
Our guide, who had also been one of the professor's
students for over two decades, picked up one pair of the shoes,
old leather pair which had a good appearance on the outside, and
pointed to the soles and the insides of the shoes. He said he remembered
the professor using the same pair of shoes for twenty-five years,
first as formal wear, then as in-house shoes, and finally as shoes
to walk in his garden.
He explained to us that the professor did
not like to waste anything until it was really not of good use.
The inside of the shoes were lined with different layers of soft
spongy material which the professor had put into the shoes when
the shoes had been worn and gotten too loose for him. With the
worn soles he had done the same.
Remembering this incident and the great impact that
the museum trip had on me, I got a bit upset over my own value
myself and of others. Here I was owning as many brand new shoes
as the professor had diplomas, certificates and degrees, yet my
greed was tempting me.
That was not all upset me. Thinking about
Professor Hessabi reminded me that as a Persian I had never heard
of him or known who he really was until recently. How could
a man so achieved, so grateful and wise be of such little exposure
in Iran and overseas?
I did a bit of research. I searched for Professor
Hessabi on the Internet with different spellings and each time
a number less than
200 pages turned up, of which the ones I browsed through, maybe
two or three were purely about him and his achievements.
try searching for Janet Jackson's breast and over 15,000 pages
turn up. What does this tell us? How can we, as a nation, as
a country, and as a people let our great minds go unnoticed like
this, compared to a singer who gets out there and has her breasts
I am not talking about some sort of ideological revolution.
I do agree that people as a whole are more attracted to scandals,
and gossip. Yet, that does not justify our letting loose of
brains. Alright, maybe Jackson is a bad match. Search for Einstein
(over 3 million pages turn up) or even a less profiled other
nationality scientist and see how many pages turn up.
be more encouraging about our minds, to show them that there's
interest and that they will be recognized. Why should the
Hessabi museum be so small scaled for such a huge man? How can
great achievers of our country be sifted out from our own
view as well
as of the world's view or stolen from us...
The point is it doesn't matter how many pairs of
shoes you own. For, me and the likes of me, a make over should
from the way we dress but from a shift in our value judgments.
One of the greatest men of our country wore the same pair
of shoes for twenty years. I don't think anyone really cares...
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