If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a million times, “Take your boots off before coming inside.” There’s a boot tray on our back porch where I’m supposed to deposit my footwear before entering the inner sanctum. Sometimes my wife, the Floor Inspector, posts sticky notes on the porch door reminding me, “Take shoes OFF!” (emphasis hers).
Hypocritically, she doesn’t remove her shoes. Nor does she require other people to remove their shoes. It’s just my shoes. So we have a double standard in which my manure-caked boots are discriminated against.
The real problem here is my wife is a clean freak, descended from a long line of clean freaks who believe it’s a great moral failing to have a speck of dirt on the floor. And it’s darn near an unforgivable sin to leave a muddy footprint (even in plain mud, not red). All this has something to do with the quote “Cleanliness is next to godliness,” which I’ve told her a million times is not in the Bible—nowhere, not even hidden in Habakkuk. What is found in the Bible is Jesus making a blind man see with a saliva/dirt combo. That’s one-hundred percent indisputable evidence that Jesus is pro-mud. Of course, she fires back that Jesus washed his disciples’ feet, which she says is one-hundred percent indisputable evidence that Jesus is pro-clean floors. So we have a theological standoff.
And our preacher, who has declined to take sides, is about as useless as a boot brush—you know, one of those stationary three-sided brushes that you kick your foot through repeatedly like a bull threatening to charge. Theoretically, the stiff bristles are supposed to dislodge contaminants. Mostly, they just smear your soles in a thin layer of mud, which, when applied to the floor, goes on in a smooth even coat and dries in two to four hours at 72 degrees. If home alone, this drying time provides some flexibility, allowing you to piddle around before returning (as the Floor Inspector pulls into the driveway) to hurriedly wipe the floors clean.
Some of my farming friends have suggested I try the tip-toe, an old-timey mud abatement method in which full-grown men in boots walk en pointe like ballerinas. I can’t say I’m opposed to such old-fashioned methods, but this is the 21st century and there ought to be a better solution, one that doesn’t require me to develop grace, balance, and flexibility at an advanced age. Until I figure out what that solution is, I’m stuck taking my boots off and praying for a divine intervention for my wife, whose belief in the immaculate inspection is borderline heretical if you ask me.