12yo – Me, my Doc’s & the Sperm Donor
Miss Boots – Part II
I spent months dreaming about and saving up for my first Doc Martens. I would visit the only shoe shop in our small country town, and stare longingly at the Doc’s through the shop window. At least I kept Murray Bridge’s lone window cleaner (my uncle) in business.
Considering my hard earned pocket money was only $5 a week, and I had other “necessities” to purchase (aka cassette tapes to bootleg Barry Bissell’s Top 40) I began to despair of ever owning my dream boots.
Then, early in my first year of High School, a miracle occurred. The Sperm Donor called my Mum and requested permission to travel all the way from Queensland down to South Australia to meet me.
The Sperm Donor hung out with me and my family for a few days, but there was no real connection or moment of epiphany for me. I think it was this lack of affection for him that allowed me to do something I had never done before:
Ask someone to spend a ridiculous amount of money on me.
On the last day of his visit the Sperm Donor said that he wanted to buy me something special. He was thinking of something girly, like a necklace or pair of earrings. But I took a deep breath… and told him that the only thing I had ever wanted and the one thing I needed more than anything else in the whole entire world was a pair of Doc Martens.
The price tag on the Doc’s was $165.
$165 was, to all of us, a small fortune. My real Dad was a mechanic, and $165 was half of his weekly wage – which provided for a family of four.
As for the Sperm Donor, he had never been gainfully employed, and could definitely have put the money to better use. Perhaps by purchasing new essential organs for himself. For example a liver, kidneys, pancreas, appendix et al. Or perhaps plastic surgery to shorten his eyelids to enable him to keep them open and/or skin grafts to cover the track marks on his arms.
When he saw the $165 price tag, the Sperm Donor had a small heart attack. Then I did something that I have perhaps done only one other time in my life – I begged and grovelled. I promised him that I would never, ever, under any circumstances ask for anything from him ever again.
I’ll never know for sure whether my Mum raised an eyebrow at him and wordlessly hinted at the 12 x years of unpaid child support. But the Sperm Donor acquiesced and bought me the Doc Martens.
I thank my lucky stars every day.
They were the first brand name items I had ever owned. Owning something so expensive dramatically elevated my high school caste. Overnight I went from “penniless loser” status to being “that smart but quirky one”.
I wasn’t popular, but the bullies left me alone. I found out years later that I was something of a hero to the rest of the poor kids. My fast talking and lone ranger/maverick position on the food chain averted many bully attacks. The popular kids weren’t quite sure where I fit in, so they just avoided me completely. Poor kids would sit near me, seeking protection by default.
I can only imagine where I’d be if those Doc Martens hadn’t entered my world at the perfect time. My career options in Murray Bridge: Woollies, BP or the Meatworks.
The only other lifestyle choice: actively breeding and cultivating the next generation of Austrayan dole bludgers.
My Doc Martens changed my life. They probably saved my life.