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Thursday, February 03, 2005

Kung Fu Shoe

Dinner with my inlaws is always interesting. It's like a visit to a foreign country; the customs are different, the language is hard to understand and the shared cultural experiences are bizarre to outsiders.

Here's an example. A few weeks ago my father-in-law let slip a fragment of a story about my wife (then a teenager) attacking her brother with a high-heeled shoe. It seems she pounded the heel into the wall, leaving a hole behind.

My brother-in-law was in town yesterday, and I probed him more about the story. He described it like a kung fu movie from the 1970s.

"You know those guys who could throw a chopstick through a wall?" he asked me.

"Yeah," I said, having never heard of or seen such a thing. I was familiar with all sorts of kung fu legends from the schoolyard, such as how Bruce Lee once used a saw to cut all his fingers even, and pounded the bloody stumps into sand, thereby creating a hard, sandpaper-like surface on his hand--the better to chop at his adversaries. So I was familiar with the broader genre of kung fu exploits and could imagine the possibility and results of chopstick throwing.

"Well, that's kinda what she did with her shoe," said my brother-in-law, who proceeded to give more details of the story.

My wife claims she doesn't remember the incident.

"She has rage-induced amnesia," I offered.

I caught hell later for bringing up the shoe story. Apparently my wife had an "emotional" adolescence, and doesn't like to relive those difficult years.

"But I need to know if you're a threat to my safety," I said. "After all, you have a whole rack of shoes right next to my side of the bed. Maybe I should take away most of them, and issue you harmless prison sandals."

"Don't bring up the shoe story again," she said.

I can't help but believe this story requires further investigation.

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