A curious thing happened in the three years since the last time Ryan and I went to Walt Disney World. I got old. I was already not young in 2013 when we both wilted from the sun at Epcot, our aging constitutions evaporating away like suicidal ice on an Orlando sidewalk. My definition of not young then was 42. Two years past the point when as long as your body is creaking, you know you’re still alive—and since you’re past 40 (but at least still younger than Janet Davies), you get those annoying reminders that you’re still alive every single day. It was one thing when I was in my early thirties and running from one end of Disneyland to the other. But being in my forties made me want to throw in my ear hat for good at the larger, hotter Disney World.
Shortly before my 40th birthday, I groped to regain my youth by flinging myself into a high-end fashion sneaker fetish. How cute. This year, a week away from our follow-up visit to Disney World, 46-year-old me—and Ryan, too—both know it’s time to succumb to a different fetish. Or at least our feet and legs and knees know. A fetish of old age, fashion opacity, and most especially the mid 2000s.
Every hardcore Disney parks fan knows what’s coming. Some with appreciative knowing. Some with judgment. (Or at least as much judgment as you can direct at someone while you’re wearing an R2-D2 ear hat.) Over the weekend, Ryan and I bought Crocs.
I know, I know.
Many of you love them. Many others of you thought they were a finished fad. What can we say? The company’s “Find Your Fun” marketing revival sucked us in, along with not a small sense of desperation about avoiding on this trip our increasingly common locked ankles for Ryan and knifey knees for us both. Not to mention that year of plantar fasciitis I ended up with after a bad exit from Matterhorn Bobsleds while wearing a smart pair of PF Flyers.
Even so, I know the fact that Crocs are alarmingly comfortable, airy, cushioning for the joints, and most importantly for Orlando, waterproof, is no defense. Nor is the fact that nowadays there are lots of different styles that barely resemble the duck-footed Crocs of old. Because Ryan bought those very classic clogs in chocolate, and I bought their classic sandal counterparts in espresso.
I thought it would end there. I really did. But Crocs obviously gets its marketing advice from every corner crack dealer in America. Because at first they make it so cheap, so easy. A buy-one-get-one discount on our first pair. Friends and family sale coupons in our shopping bag. A welcome coupon for signing up for the Crocs club. (If you’re going to judge at this point, what took you so long anyway?) A clearance sale on the styles you keep putting in your cart, taking out, and putting back in.
Who knew you could combine the welcome coupon and the clearance sale? My half-price classic flips arrive next week in ultramarine. I think Ryan’s getting navy. At some point, this is going to get expensive. Luckily, we’re Disney parks fans, and Disney parks fans all share one very important trait.
We have no rational fear of living in debt.