Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
Mon, July 22

Around the Bluhmin’ Town: Thongs or flip flops ... our vocabulary is changing

To flip or flop. That is the question. No, Dear Readers, I am not talking about house flipping. I am talking about those flimsy sandals that we like to wear in the summer. Sadly, these evil little shoes are causing quite a commotion in my life, and in that of many others. Warning: they are very dangerous!

I was shopping with my granddaughter at Kohl’s, looking for summer frocks and things. I noticed she was wearing tennis shoes and asked her if she wanted to get a pair of thongs. Instead of answering me, she just looked at me with a rather odd expression. Then I went on to say, “I love wearing thongs in the summer. I wear them around the house, out in the yard and even down to the barn. I live in them!”

Nicola looked rather pale and just kept walking. Not sure what to think, I pointed out that thongs can be a hazard, because last year over 25,000 people ended up in hospital emergency rooms due to injuries from wearing them. End of conversation (and shopping).

An hour later Nicola called me up laughing and said, “It just occurred to me that when you were talking about thongs you were talking about flip-flops or sandals.” Then she added, “I thought you were talking about ladies underwear.”

Okay, so my language is aging me and thongs are undies and flips flops are what we put on our feet. But do I look like the kind of woman who would wear thongs to go feed the horses? And 25,000 people do NOT end up in the emergency rooms every year because of underpants! (And if they do, this writer is not saying a word about it.)

Yes, words change. I am getting old. I used to sit on a davenport (sofa) and in the kitchen set dishes on the sideboard (countertops). One day I asked a grandson to please fetch my pocketbook and he just stared at me for a minute. “My purse, please!”

Oh yea, times have changed and so have the words we use.

Getting back to those flip flops, beware of the many ways they can create havoc in your life. People trip, fall, stub their toes, drop things on their feet, get the thong (that little piece of leather or rubber that goes between your toes) ripped off or caught on something, sprain ankles and even break legs. Yikes!

The American Medical Association has called flip flops the “most dangerous” form of footwear one can ever place on their feet. Who knew? Maybe they should come with a “Warning” label that reads, “Walking in these can be hazardous to your health.”

Shall we count the ways that these devilish sandals can send you to the hospital? People wearing them to cut the grass end up slicing off a toe (a bloody disaster). Wearing them to the airport and having luggage fall on your toes. Ouch! Or at the grocery store having a can of peas fall on your foot! Worse, some people wear these flimsy things to go hiking! Never do that! Because on a trail a rock or rattlesnake could be lurking. In other words, let your imagination go wild on the ways that flip flops can cause damage. One physician has said they should be worn only at home when walking outside to the pool. They are deadly!

I was shopping at the Wal-Mart in Anthem one summer day when I heard a young woman screaming in the parking lot. She was walking to her car and the thong in her rubber flip flop broke, rendering it useless. Standing with one foot in the air yelling, “Help I can’t put my foot down,” it was quite the crisis.

Oh yea, placing a bare foot on cement when it is 115 degrees can cause first-degree burns! Many shoppers ran over to her and a big burly guy came and picked her up and asked if she wanted to be placed back inside the store to buy new footwear, or carried to her car. It was a heroic rescue.

I have a single friend who has been divorced for years and just started dating. One man she thought was the “perfect match” showed up for a summer lunch in shorts and flip flops. Okay, so Liz thought the shorts were okay but she was “grossed out” by the sight of “so much foot showing” that she scratched him immediately off her list. I mused that maybe she should let suitors know that if they want to play footsie with her, they better wear proper footwear. Wear flip flops on a date and it could be a flop!

Summer is fast approaching. Time for a pedicure perhaps? Oh, and do not wear flip flops (or thongs) on a first date. And for safety’s sake, throw out all those cheap, rubber flip flops and upgrade to a more sturdy style of footwear. Like words, styles may change. And our vocabulary may age us. Yet, some things remain the same ... we want our toes to breathe! Be safe and stay out of danger. Flip or flop ... but no thongs allowed.

Judy Bluhm is a writer and a local Realtor. Have a story or a comment? Email Judy at


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