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.
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...