One long-ago afternoon, when the city was firmly in the grip of summer heat, an NYU freshman said these irresistible words: “Get a load of this!”
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We crowded around as she lifted her foot before our stunned eyes. The flesh below her ankle, hot to the touch, had swollen to the size of an elephant’s leg, and a flimsy flip-flop dangled from her distended toes. A blister caused from breaking in her thongs had become majorly infected, and when she finally saw a doctor, she needed an IV drip of antibiotics. Had she waited longer, she might have lost her foot. Sure, it’s a dramatic example, but the lesson is simple: Don’t wear flip-flops in New York City.
Flip-flops breed strong opinions like steaming summer street puddles breed bacteria. Those opposed will say no one wants to see your disgusting feet, that open-toed shoes are a privilege of those with pedicures. Some argue that wearing rubber shoes is for children or that the thwack-thwack sound they make is noise pollution. But fashion and propriety aside, common sense begs you to think twice before walking around the city basically barefoot.
Have you ever seen a smashed rat in the middle of the street? One that’s flat as a pancake, insides on the outside, its tail the only indication that it was once a living rodent? Have you smelled a mysterious pool of liquid you’ve instinctually known wasn’t water or gotten a metal shard stuck in your shoe? Probably. Remember these scenarios next time you’re tempted to slip on a pair of Havaianas and take a leisurely stroll to the nearest bodega. Save the flip-flops for the beach!
Your feet—and your fellow city-dwellers—will thank you.