When Tanner Clarkson III bought a pair of New Balance’s $179.99 “Made in the US 999” sneakers, a feeling of pride ran through his mind.
As he walked out of Foot Locker with his collar popped and knee-high tube socks on fleek, Clarkson reached for his Oakley’s dangling from his neck by a neoprene strap. Pulling them to his face under his transparent pastel visor, Clarkson knew he was the man.
“I know what you’re probably thinking, ‘how’d I afford these sick kicks,’” Clarkson snorted. “Freakin’ Groupons, baby.”
Though his shopping mission was completed, Clarkson continued making his way through Gateway Mall, looking at other mall-goers and giving them overly dramatized head nods.
Then, it happened. In his hubris, Clarkson forgot to tie his new New Balance shoes and he lost his balance.
“Everything slowed down,” Clarkson said. “My knees cracked on the pavement, tearing my titular tubes. My hands, oh my dear hands. I wish they could’ve saved me from gravity, I wish they could’ve saved my fall, but alas. They were too busy making the good ol’ double-hand pistol and wink at a couple of cuties walking my way.”
His face smashed into the cold, unforgiving concrete: Oakley’s shattered, neoprene strap torn and the popped collar of his Alligator t-shirt deflated.
“I started thinking, ‘This is it, Clarkson, you’re finished. Not even a supreme cool bean like you can recover from this,’” he said.
Defeated, Clarkson began walking toward his custom, bright orange Volkswagen bus. Standing in front of its open driver-side door, he took off his New Balance sneakers.
“I need not for you anymore,” Clarkson said with a tear-stained face. “Now, go on git – get out of here! Can’t you see I don’t want you anymore!?”
The shoes did not move. After realizing they never would, Clarkson hopped inside his orange monstrosity and took off to venture for new experiences on new horizons and to establish, in his new life, new balance.