Harry Hurt Helps The Rich Limp In Style

"Thanks mostly to my advancing years and my inherited high arches," reveals lifestyle capitalist and Sag Harbor resident Harry Hurt III in today's Times, "I'd developed a so-called hammertoe." The "offending digit" blistered itself by scraping against his "dress shoes"! And then the weekend lifestyle drama builds: will Harry's hurts be alleviated by a cut-rate, if "light as a feather," aluminum cane ("I cringed in silent horror") or is our hero more a $279 "four-wheeled walker...with bicycle-style handbrakes" man?

Ha! Trick question. "Hammertoe" is actually code for geezer male-bonding.

At last, I arrived at 535 Eighth Avenue, the new headquarters of a 1926 vintage family concern known as Arnold Hatters.... There were red, yellow, green and white shafted canes with pistol-grip-shaped "derby" handles priced at $30; a clear Lucite-shafted cane priced at $60; variously priced black-shafted canes with brass-plated handles shaped like the heads of snakes, elephants, and wolves; and a hollow shafted cane designed to accommodate five tubular glass flasks.

"Are you looking for a pimp stick?" asked a resonant voice. I whirled around to see Arnold Rubin, 70, grinning at me from behind a display case.

But in personal mobility devices, as in life and the markets, never settle:
Although my chosen cane was fashionable and utilitarian, it made me feel weak and vulnerable to muggers and unpaid creditors. Then I spied a $100 Irish shillelagh hanging above the display cases. Made from knotted blackthorn, it was 18 inches long with a leather-strapped handle and a grapefruit-size knob hard enough to crack concrete.
And thus equipped with his foot-and-a-half shillelagh, after "whipping out a credit card," HH3 successfully transforms into an "erect four-limbed man." Really, none of this is made up.

Walking Slowly and Carrying a Big Stick [NYT]