My husband came in from the late summer heat and slumped onto the couch exhausted from a morning of yard work.
He began untying his grungy, battle-scarred work sneakers. He sat them neatly beside the couch. I could smell them clear across the room.
“What is that smell?” I asked.
He sniffed and looked down at the sneaker. “The yard is wet. It's the sneakers.”
“Well take those sneakers outside. They reek! And they look awful. Completely worn out.”
“I just wear them for yard work.”
“We can afford a new pair of sneakers. Those stink!”
He picked up the stinky sneakers and studied the brown creases on the formerly white tennis shoes.
“I'll throw them away.” He picked up the sneakers and headed for the garbage bin.
“No, wait. Put them outside the door for now. I want to take a picture and see if someone really is crazy enough to buy them off Ebay.”
It would only take a couple seconds to try duplicating the story of a seller who made over $4,000 selling smelly sneakers.
I lined up a white sheet, artistically arranged the work worn sneakers, snapped a couple photos and listed: “Stinky ole worn out men's sneakers size 10.5 medium.”
They did have a kind of quaint look about them in the picture, so I added, “art, craft and photography.” Some artistically-minded soul might think they spoke volumes about hard labor, of a summer of mowing, extensive house maintenance and hauling a mountain of debris out to the burning pile. A hard working person had worn those sneakers.
They really needed to go in the trash bin, but if someone actually wanted to buy worn out shoes, we would use the cash to buy a new pair.
And then we had to pack to visit all the folks we had not seen while he slaved away residing the house this summer. The shoes stayed on our steps, in the sunshine and rain while we were traveled.
Midway through our trip an Ebay shopper sent me a question: “How bad do the sneakers smell? What do they smell like?'
Really? You want to know, I thought.
I realized I could not exactly remember, so I responded, “something like old sweat, only really ripe after having walked through a wet yard. But I am away from home and can't sniff to verify the odor.”
We came home to a clean, fresh smelling house. Then I stepped outside and saw the sneakers. I had forgotten the query. I thought the shopper had as well until they asked, “Are these still being worn?”
“No. We left them outside for a month and the smell of old sweat diminished greatly. I could soak them a while and see if the room drenching smell returns. LOL,” I responded.
“Ok, don't post this comment on eBay, but you have severely diminished the value of the shoes. LOL,” the former prospective buyer wrote.
“I know, but I simply could not stand the smell of them anymore.”
“I respect that you have standards,” the invisible shopper concluded the conversation.
I shared the emails with my husband. He shook his head. “I can't fathom why anyone would want them.”
“Where are the sneakers anyway?” I asked him.
He found them about 10 feet away from me. No smell. The sun had worked its magic.
“Just throw them away,” I said.
“No, they don't smell now. I'll wear them, get them stinking again and then we can sell them.”
He triumphantly reclaimed the sneakers he never had wanted to trash in the first place.
Joan Hershberger is a retired journalist who lives in Parkers Chapel just south of El Dorado.