December 5, 2011

perhaps strapless
or complete with straps on which to pull one’s self up.
funny thing about bootstrapping
(or as i think of it – the idiot’s idiom)
it was originally used to refer to something that was not possible
“to pull oneself over the fence by one’s bootstraps”
was something that could not happen
to use this phrase in response to a story you had been told
actually meant – “you’re full of shit”
quit braggin’(people in the olden days
never put g’s on their gerunds).

i think this is true even as it is used today.
to pull yourself up by your bootstraps still refers
to something that is unlikely to occur.
it still pretty much means that you’re not gonna make it
that you are probably not capable of making this happen,
while somehow being self-congratulatory
to the person who is suggesting that you bootstrap
that they would somehow or have already
accomplished the impossible on their own
it triggers in me a reaction to say something as equally trite
such as:
“yah? well, what about people who don’t have any boots?”
“what if your boots got stolen?” (by life’s crappy circumstances)
“what if you were born without boots?” (ahem, Act of God)
“why don’t you go bootstrap yourself.”

really, it seems an awfully lonely thing to be forced to do
– and you can’t actually do it – (i tried)

however, i have to admit…
not all boots are created equally

and some wear them better than others
if we all had bootstraps like these?


6 Responses to “Boots”

  1. Ryan Roling Says:

    Now I suppose I’m the last guy who should be telling you that you need to “think outside the bun”. But once in a while you gotta listen to me.

    Isn’t it possible that a guy could be wearing boots, with straps, while climbing over, say, a barbed-wire fence? And upon reaching the summit of that fence, he could loose his balance, and as it happens when one looses his balance, this poor fellow might fall off that fence. And upon his descent his boots might become tangled and be pulled off. As he lays on his back on the ground looking up at the sky with the fence still in his vision, he might see his boots, straps and all, dangling in front of his face. To help himself out, he might grab those bootstraps, his very own no less, and pull himself up.

    I’m just sayin’.

    (BTW – braggin’ isn’t a gerund in your story. Gerunds function as nouns in a sentence and you cannot replace braggin’ with another noun – “quit pizza” just doesn’t work. However, that might not be a bad slogan for Taco Bell. Sure as hell beats “think outside the bun”.)

    (Braggin’, sayin’ and other non-g words, as well as “gotta” most likely fall under the category of reduced speech. Reduced speech is a real sumbich for ELLs;-)

    • Shawn Says:

      i like your story (and you) very much
      but (and bun) …
      thank goodness they did a good job putting that fence up to support those boots. and if he by himself put up the fence… i’m glad the barbed wire maker made strong wire, and that the earth grew such good trees to be clear cut for little fence posts.
      let us also give thanks to the strap-maker for giving him a strong body to absorb the impact and arms that could lift him back up, let alone those boots.

    • Shawn Says:

      I’m gonna name my next kid Gerund
      and he’ll be a noun
      a right proper one.

  2. Lindsey Says:

    bootless, you are somehow swifter, swiftest
    lift up your eyes, head for the hills
    run and run and
    be tripped and tangled by no straps, no strings
    arriving long before the rest of us
    to stand
    and wonder
    why am I alone in such a place?

    if only you had foot-frogs to weigh you down,
    keep you trudging steady, sturdy, saner,
    we’d all grin back at your smiling toes,
    and whomever turned out to be attached to them.

    boots or no,
    fast or slow,
    hearts aglow,
    we follow.

    (you can run but you can’t Hyde.)

    • Shawn Says:

      thank you.

      sometimes it is my hyde that gets me the most
      i can usually handle my unfriendly ghosts
      but this body is not a gracious host

      • Ryan Roling Says:

        The funny thing about naming your next child Gerund: He would be a right Proper noun, not a common one by any stretch of the imagination.

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