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Why are so many high-tops up high on Holly?

You’ll find sneakers attached to overhead utility lines in a variety of places, like here recently along College Drive just east of Main Avenue. (Action Line)

Dear Action Line: As I drive the Holly Avenue cutoff from 32nd Street to Florida Road, I see about eight pair of tennis shoes hanging from the power lines. Is this some sort of protest or just bored dudes too stupid to know that the weight might bring down the line? And that La Plata Electric Association must pass the cost to remove them on to co-op members? I think that if they do not want them, then give them to the poor. – Tennies Anyone?

Dear Tennies: Action Line was a stupid kid once, but never threw shoes – laces tied together – over utility wires. Too busy throwing snowballs at cars – and we probably shouldn’t mention the bowling ball incident.

Yes, kids are stupid. It’s always been that way, and it always will be.

This answer involves a couple of sources, one to delve into the psychology, and one to explain the technical issues.

First, why do youths do this?

“Great question,” said Brian Burke, professor of psychological science at Fort Lewis College and Action Line regular. “I have read various theories online, including: that the custom emerged as a rite of passage in the U.S. military after finishing key parts of training; it is a memorial for someone who died on that street; kids discarding the shoes because they had outgrown them.”

Another theory, perhaps more of an urban myth, is that the shoes mark the location for a drug deal or the location of a crack house. One would like to assume there is no crack house on Holly Avenue.

Burke continued:

“Psychologically speaking, this long-forgotten custom may be returning because, according to researchers, we currently lack meaningful ‘rites of passage’ in our modern, phone-based, social media-driven culture. So, people may be grasping for any real-world element to mark the passage of time or to exert their influence/power (on powerlines!).”

LPEA illuminated the issue as well, even getting into the Action Line spirit of fun.

“Ah, the enigmatic tale of sneakers soaring through the sky on Holly Avenue, dangling from lines like banners in a high-top kingdom,” responded Amanda Anderson, LPEA strategic communications officer.

Anderson pointed out that the “airborne accessories” are generally found on communication lines rather than power lines. Communications lines are closer to the ground than power lines. And, if you’re trying to send a message with your sneakers, then communication lines make sense. LPEA, Anderson said, keeps a vigilant eye on its power lines.

“For areas where cars and pedestrians roam, the safe height for electrical wires is generally a lofty 18.5 feet high,” she said. “This height ensures that everyone, even those toting ladders or other tall objects, can pass under safely without a hair-raising experience.

“In the unlikelihood that these rogue shoes make an appearance on LPEA’s power lines, they’re whisked away quicker than you can whisper ‘electric boogaloo.’ It seems efficiency is key in the battle against the sneaker invasion,” she said.

Anderson said to give LPEA a call “if you happen upon fresh ‘kicks’ on the power lines. … Keep looking up!”

Email questions and suggestions to actionline@durangoherald.com or mail them to Action Line, The Durango Herald, 1275 Main Ave., Durango, CO 81301. If you’ve never seen the car chase in “The French Connection,” it’s about time you do so. Why is this relevant to Action Line? Just the continuing theme of Roy Scheider movies. Scheider (New York Police Department Det. Buddy Russo) would not have put up with people throwing shoes over wires.