I Was a Prisoner of Consumer Culture

My new piece is up at First of the Month:


It begins:

When I put on my Keen sandals, I noticed a tear above the right big toe. When I took them off, I noticed a matching tear above the left. Just the month before I had worn flat the tread on my Day-Glo orange Merrills. My rule, even before I turned 79 and would seem guaranteed to be fading faster than my possessions, had been get rid of two; replace one.
I am not a sandal guy, really. I am not a lace-up shoe guy or a loafer guy and I have three pairs of sneakers (Okay, “Walking shoes”), and Carlos, the Guatamalan at Andronico’s fish counter, had, just that week, praised my “pre-owned” eel skin Montana-brand cowboy boots, the kind, based on two-seasons of Narcos viewing, I’d say nine out of ten Michoacan drug lords prefer. Since I had bought them on eBay, I returned to that bazaar, where, immediately, a pair of gold-and-black snake skin (“pre-owned”) Tony Lamas struck me. They were handsome, distinctive – certainly in Berkeley distinctive – and in the ballpark price-wise, though, with their back pressed against the centerfield wall.