“These Boots Were Made for Gawking”


In the late ’80’s I gave a series of speaking seminars to bankers in Victoria, Texas.  That’s south of Houston – waaay south of Houston. In those days, South Texas had so much oil and gas money, they didn’t know what to do with it – so they hired me.  They wanted to learn presentations from a “fast-talking, New York Jew boy” (to them, EVERYONE in New York was fast-talking and Jewish) because they were invited to talk to Wall Street financers and didn’t want to seem like hicks.

I liked these guys and they liked me.  In those days, I was making stupid money and spending it stupidly – so I told them before I left Texas, I wanted to buy some real cowboy boots.

“Lucchese!” they just about said in unison, “They’ll measure you up, help you choose the leather, and ship your custom-made boots in a few weeks.”

OK, then! I went to Lucchese, skipped by the snake, ostrich, eel, and turtle leathers – slipped by the color patches of leather and embroidered patterns and settled on your basic black, cowhide, custom-fitted model.  The “booter” looked bored. We ambled on back to the measuring room and then I remembered to ask him the price of this fashion statement.

“Three thousand dollars,” he said and continued ambling. I stopped.

“Pardon me – what did you say?”

“Three thousand dollars – including fitting and shipping.”  Seeing the stunned look on my face, he said, “But these are Lucchese boots. They’ll last almost a lifetime.”

I remembered my first car cost $600 and lasted 2-years. I could have bought five of the damn things and driven barefoot for the same price for a decade!  Then I thought of Rochester winters.

“They might last a lifetime in the dust – but do you know what salt slush can do to them for five months out of a year?”

“Nope,” he said.  Now we were both embarrassed – for me.

“I’ll have to think about this,” I said trying to slip him a ten spot for his trouble.

He looked at me like I grew an ostrich head before his eyes.

“Cain’t take that,” he said, amazed.

I quickly left the store.

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12 Responses to ““These Boots Were Made for Gawking””

  1. Joseph Belle-Isle says:

    You could have got a paire of custom made Luchese Genuine Texas Cowboo boats for only $3000. and PASSED. Jew boy.

  2. Steve says:

    Yeah, even if I could afford 10 pair, I could never pay 3 grand for a pair of boots…because I wold wear them, and someone would ask, “how much were they?”
    and I’d have to tell them I sepnt 3 grand for boots.
    And if they were a true friend, they would slap the **** out of me, I would hope.

  3. Brenda says:

    Steve, I don’t know if I would slap the shit out of you, but I would roll on the floor laughing at you screaming you were a fool.

    I wonder how much the hats cost. You can’t have a pair of shoes without the matching accessories:)

  4. Joseph Belle-Isle says:

    Remember how the “Western wear” style overtook the east? I don’t I was out west. Just that after working in states where most men either wore wolverines or some kind of western boot- the style was normal looking where it came from, I went up the east coast through Boston in the 70’s and got jumped by three bullies for having my boots on. (They are NORMAL $40 boots in the southwest)

    Those guys just wanted to beat someone up for wearing cowboy boots. Somehow Eastern wear caught on out there but it was still a rattlesnake agrarian place and people would wear dress or work boots from Penny’s or tons of regular priced American made companies. I came back east and about was shocked to death. Everydrunk in everybar and the “womenfolk” were wearing “Western wear” as a style. “Willie had taken over” Bass plarer G.B. Cannon, wherever you are, thanks for the tour of Austin.

  5. @Laura many thanks. Afraid I don ‘t have time to sign up though it sounds interesting
    http://www.presentationsunplugged.com – cool!!!!

  6. amy stahl says:

    thank god this doesnt end with you giving him the money.

    did I tell you about cowboy boots 4 years ago when my bro was dating some country lame dolt?

    well somehow, he ended up getting cowboy boots.
    I honestly broke into his house here without a key and STOLE them.
    Never told him about it.
    Luckily it did more than just slow him down and he never actually wore any around this small town.
    Man they looked soooo gayyyyy

  7. amy stahl says:

    TRUE SISTER tho?
    right, Steve?

  8. Joseph Belle-Isle says:

    I used to spend a lot of time in the cow pastures picking those funny purple mushrooms. Westerners just don’t look out of place in the style they were brought up in, but around Houstin and the cities even the farmers and ranchers would look at city people in expensive cowboy boots and wonder if “Them Folks,” ever got any cowshit on them. Right after Frank was there Houston went bankrupt and people were sellin Rolex’s for $50. The oilpatch dried up and the Arabs grabbed us by the cojones. The whole 8 Yr’s Senor Bush Frum Konectikut was spent paying America back and getting their (getting “their?”) money back, and union busting. The scum in charge used 9-11 as a reason to bust the union and GM and get the cheap foreing automakers to line up laborers that think $10 p hr. is SUPER GOOD money. In the super edjumucated dumbass N.Alabam. Did you ever notice how many class action lawsuits are out of Alabam? The Judges accept donations for their personal polital election fund. Like the one who took $100,000 and awarded that guy over $1,000,000 for a scratch on his BMW. Talk about the crooks in Detroit. These people want to bring slavery back- and dammit they are succeeding and Obama can’t see it.

    Tell a real cowboy he looks gay in cowboy boots and you’ll either get your butt whipped, Butt boinked, or butt whipped and THEN butt boinked, without the axlegrease. You don’t want to mess with anyone with a stump broke stallion.

  9. Hello. I think the article is really interesting. I am even interested in reading more. How soon will you update your blog?

  10. Are you from San Diego?

  11. Frank Paolo says:

    No, Lena. I am from the State of New York on the other coast. You?

  12. Alina Pooni says:

    Awesome article! I just love your blog.

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