White tennis shoe mystery, explained

A mystery afoot: Columnist Bob Edwards wades into the matter of sweaty feet and sagging socks

There’s a mystery afoot hereabouts. I have noticed it, and you probably have too — I am referring to senior citizens and white tennis shoes.

Let me explain: When most seniors — primarily men — wear tennis shoes, the shoes appear very white. Did you ever wonder why? Try the Bob theory of white tennis shoes for an answer.

As you age, your sweat glands begin to lower themselves, slipping lower in your body. And senior citizens don’t always get the exercise they should. A program of exercise would prevent most of that slippage. Indeed, if all senior citizens exercised, there probably would not be any white tennis shoes on senior feet.

Back to the slipping sweat glands. Eventually, they migrate through the body to end up in the feet. When the foot is encased by sock and tennis shoe, the heat generated is sufficient to cause excess sweating from the feet. This sweat action gets the sock wet, and in turn the tennis shoe gets pretty wet, too.

Now, the average senior citizen male of the species does not go out and buy white tennis shoes. In an effort to “be cool,” he looks for something in blue, black, even red or yellow. Here is where the chemistry begins. The combination of wet sock, wet tennis shoe, and continued sweat from the feet all combine to bleach the tennis shoe and actually bleach out all the color. So what you get is a white tennis shoe.

This theory goes hand-in-hand with another hypothesis of mine. I have named this condition “Slipping Sock Syndrome.” Again pity the poor male, senior citizen.

Here is what happens: men are born with a condition I call “Leg Magnetism.” It has to do with the hair on a leg, and the inner magnetism present at birth. Generally speaking, as you age, your leg hair tends to get its thickest around age 20 to 45 or 50.

Then, for some unknown reason, the hair begins to fall out and by the time you reach your 60s, your legs are almost smooth. This can be proven by the leg magnetism theory.

To prove my point, let me call your attention to the sock and its properties. You very seldom see a man under the age of 40 or 45 with a sagging sock on.

Some men don’t even wear socks — maybe they have a vague inner feeling that they have got the sagging sock syndrome and don’t want to advertise it. Other men getting into their senior years may buy a garter to hold their sock up. Still others, those who don’t care, just let em’ droop.

At this point, I offer a small bit of advice. Do not approach a male senior citizen with the intention of lifting his pants leg and checking the condition of his sock. You stand an honest danger of getting clubbed with a cane or whacked with a walker.

I think of the beer commercial I have seen where a senior citizen, watching the younger man drink a specific beer, yells over and says “Hey sonny, toss me a beer.”

The response is “How about if I carry it over to you, Grandpa.” But Grandpa insists and the tossed can boinks the old fellow on the noggin. Grandpa gets back up, however, and when standing face to face with the person who threw the beer, he upends his walker and hits the young man in a very sensitive piece of anatomy.

So don’t think that because someone is a bit older and wiser than you, maybe even slower than you, that a senior cannot retaliate when aroused.

I did notice that the senior citizen in the beer commercial had white tennis shoes on. And his left sock was in a state of sag.

• Bob Edwards is a North Bend resident and member of the SnoValleyWrites writers’group.