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November 8, 2010 / Lauren

Sneaky trickster.

I love the feeling of getting away with something.  It is the best thing in the world.

This is what reminded me of my favorite feeling today:

It’s reminiscent of a few pranks I’ve pulled.  Or the time my orthodontist told me I needed to have a serious jaw surgery and promptly I moved to Arkansas and changed my cell phone number.

I won’t spill all of my sneaky secrets today- some are fodder for future posts- but I’ll share one of my favorite personal tales on bending the rules:

In high school, I owned somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 pairs of flip flops.  That’s 30 flips (left) and 30 flops (right).  I rarely, if ever, wore real, actual shoes with uppers and laces and whatnot.  This was all well and good and until the beginning of my junior year.  See, I moved in the middle of high school, and while high school A had let me wear flip flops through my freshman and sophomore years, high school B had expressly forbidden toe freedom of any kind in the dress code for my junior and senior years.

At first I was flat out defiant.  I wore them anyway, and when I saw a principal or one of those hard-ass super enforcer teachers walking the hallways, I avoided them at all costs.  This worked for a few weeks, but then I got caught and was served a detention slip. (Yes, mom, I had a detention or two in school.  I’m sorry if I lied and told you I was practicing my clarinet before school or studying for a test when I was really in detention, but really- Practicing? Studying? Does that sound like me at all?) When I asked the administrator who wrote me up why flip flops were against the rules, I was told the policy existed for safety reasons.  The powers that be thought students would trip on stairs if they wore flip flops.  Because, you know, you could never trip over shoelaces or twist your ankle wearing high heels anything.  That sort of thing only happens with flip flops.

Scared straight and dejected, I wore tennis shoes for a couple of days.  My toes hated me.  They yearned for the gentle breeze, the freedom to wiggle about.  I knew there had to be a way around this rule.  I read the dress code carefully and realized I couldn’t find a definition of flip flop (referred to as ‘thongs’ in the student handbook, which, by the way, is extra hilarious when you’re sixteen) so I stopped by the administrator’s office again and asked ever so politely for a definition.  I have never been good at picking my battles, and I realize being this defiant and ornery was pretty dumb, but I needed to wear flip flops.  Annoyed, the assistant principal gave me something along the lines of “flip flops are sandals that go between your toes and do not have a back strap around the heel.”

That afternoon, I went home, absconded with my dad’s duct tape, and added homemade back straps to the heels of each and every flip flop I owned.  For the next two years, I got “caught” every once in a while.  Each time, I would politely explain the administration-approved definition of flip flops to the enforcer, and go on my merry way.  Victory tasted sweeter than baklava.

Lauren McKinney’s life lesson #1: There is always, always a loophole.



Leave a Comment
  1. Miranda / Nov 9 2010 9:02 am

    I, too, share your enthusiasm for the flippity-floppage of flip flops and despise restricting, hateful shoes. I barely made it through high school alive after being forced to squelch my fear of dark, cramped shoes in favor of reducing said harsh detention sentences. I hate to make you even more infuriated, but the nonsensical rule was abolished the year after we graduated: flip flops were allowed as part of the dress code for the class of 2004.

    • Lauren / Nov 9 2010 9:06 am

      Wow! I’m glad younger generations got to enjoy the toe freedom so many of our peers couldn’t taste. In fact, I’m going to pretend the rule got changed solely (heh) because of me. I stuck it to the man! Fight the power! Viva la revolucion!

  2. stumbleana / Nov 9 2010 3:04 pm

    So you mean to tell me that I could have worn my thongs all through high school? I suffered for two years by going commando in jeans just because of that stupid rule.

  3. dave / Nov 9 2010 3:16 pm

    Didn’t that ruin the “flip-flop” sound while you were walking?

    • Lauren / Nov 9 2010 6:46 pm

      The sound was diminished. I guess you can’t have your flip and flop it, too!

  4. Cara Hands / Dec 19 2010 3:12 pm

    What i find difficult is to find a blog that can capture me for a minute but i think you offer something different. Bravo.

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