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Why are bowling shoes always the same wherever you go, and why are they so ugly?

Dear Matthew Alice:

I've been a bowler for more than 40 years. And it's only last week that it finally hit me. Why are bowling shoes always the same wherever you go, and why are they so ugly?

-- Seven-Ten Split, Santee

Straight from our "Huh? Wha...Where Am I? How Long Have I Been Out? Oh, Man, and My Wallet's Gone" file. Life goes by at such a rate that sometimes it's hard to catch up. Anyway, a bowling alley is one of the few places we go where they insist that you take off your shoes and put on a pair of theirs. If they gave everybody Bruno Maglis, we'd be out the back door before the first gutter ball was thrown, leaving our funky shower shoes at the desk. There are some categories of objects (paper clips, safety pins, matchbooks, golf tees, the little black caps for the stem of the tube of your car tire) that are universally recognized as more or less up for grabs. They never really have an owner, even if someone paid money for them originally. In the maybe-yes, maybe-no category there's already-read newspapers, pencils, and cheap ballpoints. If it looks like the owner isn't around, they suddenly shift into the free-for-all pile. Bowling shoes don't qualify for either category; but because we will try to walk off with whatever seems to be semi-orphaned, the industry makes the shoes as identifiable and ugly as possible to make sure we'll turn them back in and retrieve our own.

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Dear Matthew Alice:

I've been a bowler for more than 40 years. And it's only last week that it finally hit me. Why are bowling shoes always the same wherever you go, and why are they so ugly?

-- Seven-Ten Split, Santee

Straight from our "Huh? Wha...Where Am I? How Long Have I Been Out? Oh, Man, and My Wallet's Gone" file. Life goes by at such a rate that sometimes it's hard to catch up. Anyway, a bowling alley is one of the few places we go where they insist that you take off your shoes and put on a pair of theirs. If they gave everybody Bruno Maglis, we'd be out the back door before the first gutter ball was thrown, leaving our funky shower shoes at the desk. There are some categories of objects (paper clips, safety pins, matchbooks, golf tees, the little black caps for the stem of the tube of your car tire) that are universally recognized as more or less up for grabs. They never really have an owner, even if someone paid money for them originally. In the maybe-yes, maybe-no category there's already-read newspapers, pencils, and cheap ballpoints. If it looks like the owner isn't around, they suddenly shift into the free-for-all pile. Bowling shoes don't qualify for either category; but because we will try to walk off with whatever seems to be semi-orphaned, the industry makes the shoes as identifiable and ugly as possible to make sure we'll turn them back in and retrieve our own.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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