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SEPTEMBER 7, 1998


ONCE UPON A TIME there was a pair of shoes. Like all other shoes, he had dark shoelaces, black or brown. By day, this pair of shoes went around like all the other shoes, that is, shuffling along the ground. But it just so happened that this pair of shoes had pink shoelaces hidden in his closet, and at night he put them on and cut loose. And so things went for this pair of shoes until one day he got tired of hiding his happiness in the closet, and he put on his pink shoelaces. All the other shoes regarded him with grave disapproval and made a cordon of brown and black shoelaces around him to quarantine him, so he couldnt contaminate all the other shoes. The pair of shoes with pink shoelaces protested, and every day he marched with a sign saying: "Respect and Dignity for Pink Shoelaces!" But the other shoes ignored him, tying their black and brown knots even tighter to cut the pair of shoes with pink shoelaces off. And they organized a counterprotest with signs saying: "End the Pink Shoelace Plague."

And that is what they were doing when someone saw the pair of shoes with the pink shoelaces, and they put a big ugly hat on him, and the hat had pastel blue feathers, and they made a song about him, and the pair of shoes with pink shoelaces became very famous, and everyone danced to the song, and no one put a hat or feathers on the shoes with brown and black shoelaces, and no one ever made a song for them. Poor things, what will they do now?

Tan-tan.

SUBCOMANDANTE INSURGENTE MARCOS of the EZLN



From Our Word is Our Weapon: Selected Writings. Published by Seven Stories Press, 2001. Edited by Juana Ponce de León.

Permission granted for all noncommercial use of material in this book credited to Subcomandante Marcos.


There can't be much to say about this story—it seems quite self-explanatory to me. It is a perfect example of the lighthearted and humorous side of Subcomandante Marcos, who often signs stories like this as Sup, an affectionate nickname for the revolutionary spokesman. The ending words, Tan-tan, are found at the end of many of Marcos' fables, and mean something like "So-so."

Who knew Marcos was an Elton John fan? ^_^

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