Subtlety not being his strong suit, my 12-year-old nephew recently sent me an instant message that read: How much are you going to spend on me for xmas? How much do you want me to spend? I asked him.65 cuz I want these kewl dunks, he replied in that abbreviated IM-speak everyone is so fond of.I wasnt sure what the hell he was talking about, but told him: I love you $65 worth well talk later.My nephew found the perfect sucker because I remember being a kid and feeling like the world depended on such things. Between several more IMs, phone calls and researching of nefarious Web sites in the sneaker underworld, I knew my mission was to get him the Vapor-edition Nike Dunk SBs (skateboarders), preferably with an orange swoosh. Thats where the trouble started.A newbie at quests for limited-edition sneakers, I stupidly went to mainstream stores asking, Do you have any Dunk SB Vapors? On the best days Id get a Nah, those only lasted one day in our store, and on the worst of days thered be an incredulous Ha! Yeah, right!There was a brief, almost magical moment at a store in the Glendale Galleria where I was shown to a wall that felt more like a shrine. There among all the other non-contenders was a vast array of Dunks. One even had an orange swoosh and Nike emblazoned on the back with an audacity that would make even LeBron James blush. I tried not to hyperventilate as I asked, Do you have these in a size 7? The gum-cracking, ghetto-fabulous-wannabe salesclerk asked, In womens or mens? Mens, I answered like that was a strange question. Of course the pair I had pinned my hopes upon was for women. It was almost too much to bear.My quest then took a different route toward Melrose and La Brea. I went to stores that had kicks that cost upward of $200. I went to stores where they told me, Go talk to Vinny in the back, and I even went to a store in Highland Park that only those in the know know about. I turned up nothing.I went back to the Internet, where, sadly, I learned a lot of the supposed real deals on eBay and other sites are actually fakes.Finally, I decided that I was just going to break down and go to the Nike site where you can build your own. There, I was sure, Id finally design the best pair of Dunks any kid could ever want. I chose the Baroque Brown leather trim with the Tiffany Blue background and a lime-green swoosh to act as the cherry on top of my sneaker sundae. It was actually fun. Ninety-two dollars and one cent later, I was so proud that I sent my nephew a link to my creation. I went to bed feeling satisfied that my quest was finally complete. In the morning I got an e-mail: Those are the basketball Dunks, I wanted the skateboard ones. Shit. I marched over to the Active skate shop in Burbank and got him a $50 gift certificate. As far as Im concerned, $50 plus 15 hours of shopping and Internet research equals $65 worth of love.
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