Thursday, August 11, 2005

We Salute You, Mr. Checkered Shoe Wearing Man


My sister starts her senior year of high school at Pope John Paul II High School in Slidell on Friday - yes, that's way too early. But her first day reminds me of my first day of senior year four years ago and the infamous Checkered Shoe Episode.

As any Catholic school attendee knows, there are some uniform policies that are a bit, well, dogmatic. Probably the most annoying of all the uniform regulations are those related to shoes. By my senior year of high school, the administration had given up on trying to enforce the only black or white shoe rule as parents were complaining about it. So the handbook that year read that students may wear "shoes that are black, white, gray or navy or any combination thereof."

Enter my friend Jeff Colosino.

Jeff has always had a certain, shall we say, affection for breaking the rules. He doesn't do it with any particular malice and definitely not to harm anyone, but he's a bit of a free spirit. But the thing about this story is that he did not, in fact, break the rules.

On the first day, Jeff arrived at school wearing the skate shoes pictured above. Now, they are checkered, but that would fall into the "or any combination thereof" shoe color rule in the handbook. So when the dean of students came around for a uniform check on the first day and told Jeff that his shoes were not uniform code, he simply pulled out his handbook and said, "Oh, no ma'am, but they are. The handbook says shoes can be 'black, white, gray or navy or any combination thereof.' It doesn't say anything about checkered shoes." The dean of students looked at him, at the handbook and at his shoes and knew she had been beaten at her own game.

So imagine my surprise when I took a look at my sister's copy of this year's handbook and the shoe section reads: "Tennis shoes must be either black, white, navy blue or gray. Any combination of these four colors is allowed...Shoes may not be checkered or of any unusual design unless approved by the administration." [emphasis theirs].