Thursday, March 31, 2011

Noo Shooz

It was with a little bit of guilt that I made a particular purchase at Kohls on Sunday.  Nothing to do with Kohls, nothing to do with the $20 I handed over to the waiting clerk, nothing to do with the sweet little pink and white Carter's box.  Nothing to do with the child for whom the purchase was made.

No, it was to do with a vow I made almost 20 years ago.  A promise to myself not to support a "theft" that occurred some time circa 1992. 

Light-up shoes


I bought Samantha a cute little pair of light-up mary jane-style sneakers.  And she loves them.  Jumping up and down, and kicking her heels against a couch,floor,chair,step,whatever, nearly bending over backwards to see the flash or orange light on her heels, how could I resist the temptation of the joy they bring her?

But at what cost?  A two-decades-old disappointment to a friend, I guess.  (Lisa, Beth & Tricia, if I've got this wrong, I'm sorry - hope Chris isn't mad that I'm posting this.)

In 1985 or 1986, a brilliant high school friend had an invention.  One that he was well-known for throughout the school, and one that got him both giggles and stares of curiosity or admiration.  He opened up the bottom of a pair of his trademark Nike sneakers, cut holes in the sides of the soles through which he inserted small, colorful lights, and hooked it all together with pressure pads and batteries.  Yep, the prototypes.  The originals.  He entered a contest sponsored by Duracell, got Nike to sponsor him, and won a nice little sum, especially to a high-schooler.  I remember attending a dance in the school gymnasium.  The lights were down low, the music was blasting, and I could spot him easily by the light trail he left as he walked across the room.

But then what?  Well, I'm a little fuzzy on the details of the rest of the story, but let's just say it involved some youthful ignorance regarding patents and an ambitious and unscrupulous employee from Nike.  That employee jumped ship and went to LA Gear to shout his idea from the rooftops, and the rest is history (okay, I think I have a few of the facts wrong here in the telling, but it still doesn't remove the true origin of the shoes).  In 1992, one of LA Gear's most successful lines, LA Lights, was born.   

So yes, I feel a bit of guilt.  And I haven't asked him, but I am curious to know if he's ever bought light-up shoes for his two kiddos...

9 comments:

Lisa said...

I have the same guilt when I see my niece and nephew in them. Did you know his sister became an intellectual property attorney because of it?

jesshaydel said...

I never knew that, that is something very nice and new to learn. And very unfortunate when someone steals the fortune of others. But God has greater plans for that man, he knows his true intelligence and worth.

And may I say those shoes are to cute to resist even with that tempt of guilt

e.Beth said...

you've got it pretty correct there. and yes, the girls have gotten light-up shoes. hmm... i think. maybe not!

mama to j and bean said...

Wow! That is some story... The kicks are super-cute, though :)

Lacey said...

Wow, how crazy is that story? But those shoe's are too cute to pass up!

RobMonroe said...

That's an unfortunate story. The shoes are REALLY fun, though. :)

Cathleen said...

At least the shoes are adorable!!

When we were at Disney World last month we weren't sure if Lilly was tall enough for the roller coasters (she tends to not stand up straight when measured). So, we went to a Stride Rite outlet the day before and found a pair of sneakers that added about an inch. (She ended up measuring over 41 inches so it didn't matter anyways, but...) The shoes were on clearance for $20 but they were light ups and only one lit up - so we ended up making a deal for $8! But poor Lilly and her only-one-lights-up shoes...

doozee said...

no kidding? that's just too...too..too... UGH, why do people do that?!

Those ARE cute shoes though.

And I have a question - can I link to your post about the t-shirts? I'm ordering mine tomorrow and wanted to help spread the word...

Monica said...

Interesting... my older kids LOVED the "blinky" shoes when they were little. Your friend had a fantastic invention -- similar thing happened to my dad, too. Something he invented and the "friend" he showed it to ran with it and became very wealthy (at the time).