“But my dear Manolo,” I protested, “You have so many friends who are so much more famous than I.”
“Yes, Herr Professor, but none know the Manolo as you know the Manolo.”
How could I argue with this?
I have been one of Manolo the Shoeblogger’s closest friends ever since I first met him on New Year’s Eve of 1989, when I literally stumbled across him at the end of David Hasselhoff’s life-altering concert from atop the Berlin Wall.
How well I remember that day! The Wall had just come down and I had crossed over into West Berlin earlier in the day to do what Ossis did in those heady days: shop for bananas, visit relatives, and see the incredible Herr Hasselhoff in concert.
It was as I was leaving the concert, still a-quiver with emotion, that I first encountered the Manolo.
He was standing absolutely still, letting this mighty crowd flow around him like a rock in the river. He is not a tall man, and my eyes were still filled with tears from the emotions I was experiencing, and so I did not see him until I stumbled over him and fell to the ground.
As he reached down to help me, I was astonished, for he looked exactly like some sort of Spanish grandee: an impeccably tailored dark suit, a carefully knotted foulard, a short cape, and his one concession to his surroundings, a tyrolean hat!
“Please, allow the Manolo to help you to your feet, dear man.” He said in in that charmingly accented voice of his, his German as facile as his English.
“Danke. I perceive by your dress and speech that you are not German.”
“No, the Manolo is only here to see Señor Hasselhoff in concert. Was it not sublime?”
I knew in that instant that here was a kindred soul, and thus a friendship was born.
Soon the Manolo and I were touring Europe in my Trabant 500, following Herr Hasselhoff from concert to concert. We were “Hassel-Heads” in the parlance of the day, those who had given themselves over, body and soul, to the sweet, sweet music produced by that master entertainer.
Well, here we are nearly two decades later, and the Manolo has asked me to write the introduction to his new work, and what could I say but, “yes, gladly my friend,” eventhough I had not read a single word of what he had written.
Soon the manuscript of The Consolation of the Shoes arrived, and from the first page I knew that my faith in my friend’s ability to entertain and enlighten had not been misplaced.
The Consolation of the Shoes is a work in the grand tradition of my namesake, Boethius. (As always I must now stop and express my thanks to my late parents who gave me this blessed and appropriate name.)
Naturally, I take some small credit for the Manolo’s choice of subject, for it was I, who upon first hearing of his late night visit from Lady Fashion, had suggested that he read The Consolation of Philosophy as a way of interpreting what had happened to him so many years earlier.
And now he has repaid me that suggestion by producing one of the most startling and original works of philosophy I have ever had the pleasure of reading.
Please, go purchase The Consolation of the Shoes now, you will not be disappointed.