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Open your sole to joy of summer.

Byline: LORNE JACKSON

PSYCHOLOGISTS claim a person's emotional state is determined by the mind.

Your sweet old Gran probably believes that people are motivated by the heart.

Wrong and wronger.

In truth, the way you feel depends entirely on your footwear.

After all, isn't a shoe where the sole resides?

Realising this, I made a life-changing decision last week.

I started to wear flip-flops.

The decision has been more beneficial than 20 sessions with an expensive New York shrink.

Why?

Because the flip-flop is a bikini for the foot.

It is the shoe equivalent of an open-top motor.

Slip on a pair of slip-ons and that summer feeling will tickle your toes and hiss at your heels.

Having opted for the life of a foppish, flippant, flip-flopper, I find that I have become somewhat ragged around the edges. It is impossible to take life seriously.

And being mean or miserable is entirely out of the question.

Flip-flops turn you into a nice guy.

The flip-flop strop does not exist.

If soldiers wore flip-flops, there would be no more wars.

If they were compusory attire for our politians, there would be no more spats in Parliament.

And imagine the wonderful tax return you would receive from an accountant who replaced his black lace-ups with something altogether airier.

Even the way the flip-flop is constructed is delightfully half-baked.

It says cobblers to cobblers and their sophisticated tootsy technology.

Instead, you are left with minimalist clown-shoes that appear to have been built by the Blue Peter gang, using nothing more than a sliver of double-sided sticky tape and mum's old egg boxes.

But who cares if they look fragile?

It is better to be slip-shod than well-shod.

Because the tender flip-flop will never rush you through life.

If you even try to run, he will desert you in an instant.

The very act of walking evolves into something more sluggish and contemplative.

It is impossible to stride, canter or bound.

That stroppy clop is replaced with a sloppy flop, as you drum a lazy reggae beat on the sun-drunk street.

Suddenly, you find yourself enjoying the scenery.

Suddenly, you find that you are the scenery.

Of course, wearing flip-flops isn't as easy as it looks.

Many British bods may foolishly decide to dabble with, erm, socks.

Bad move!

This will only make you appear ridiculous.

The effect is almost as constraining as wearing a pair of moon boots.

Why fuzz up your feet?

After all, you wouldn't expect a porn star to do his best work while wearing a buttoned-up duffle coat, would you?

The sock gambit is usually a choice made because of a genuine worry.

Non flip-flop wearers get in a panic about displaying their naked feet, which may look pale and uninteresting.

Or worse. Perhaps they are scarred and mottled by dry skin, yellow nails, blue veins, hammer toes, blotches and blisters. But this is to be expected.

After all, when Nelson Mandela was freed from Robben Island after 2 7 years of unjust imprisonment he didn't bound free, like Julie Andrews romping down a Swiss Alp.

He shuffled, shakily.

Your feet, kept prisoner by the cruel apartheid of polished leather, feel the same way.

Living in the cramped dungeon of your sinister size 10s, they have been turned into shoe pastry.

Is it any wonder, then, that they stumble, blinking into the sunlight, confused and crippled?

But, one sniff of the fresh air, and your Quasimodo hoofs will go through a quasi-religious experience.

They'll flourish in the sun.

Of course, there is one itty-bitty problem.

The British winter (which tends to overlap with the British autumn, the British spring and the British summer).

So what will I do about my flip-flop fetish when I'm confronted by 10 inches of snow?

Hmmmm. Perhaps fuzzy socks and moon boots aren't so bad after all.

CAPTION(S):

SHOE PEOPLE: Tony Blair and David Cameron should try flip flops
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Jul 9, 2006
Words:656
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