"My uncle taught me how to shine shoes in 1980 when I was 25. He started shining shoes when he was nine years old. During his time, it was illegal to shine shoes on the street. He used to sit out on a big string-bean can and keep the shoe polish in his pocket. When the cops came, he'd lose his chair, but still keep the polish. We call him Sugar Ray Liquor because when he got drunk, he used to think he was a prize fighter. He would also get so stinking drunk, he would shine your damn socks. But he was so damn good that people would still let him shine their shoes. They would just go home and wash their socks! He stopped drinking now and is still shining shoes.
"I started off shining shoes at the car dealerships up on Georgia Avenue. After that, I wandered down near Dupont Circle and have been here for over 20 years. The thing is that you can't be by the Metro because everyone wants to move fast around there and no one wants to stop for a shoe shine. I set up a few blocks away in the morning, so people can slow down a bit. Then, I work all of the clubs on 19th and M St in the afternoon. After 5:30 p.m., I go by the Palm Restaurant and then head out by the bars until midnight. I get most of my shoe shines at night because, after happy hour, everyone is happy and wants to get a shoe shine. I put that glow on their toe. They call me Dr. Shoe because I have my Ph.D. in shoeology. See, I went to Shoe U. to make those shoes look new. My motto is that if you don't like your shine, you don't pay a dime. I want to make everyone look shiny and bright because, when I finish, everything's going to be alright.
"In my years here, I have shined everyone's shoes from Muhammad Ali to Arnold Schwarzenegger and a lot of politicians and ballplayers. Anybody is a celebrity in my book when they get a shine. I like my first shine for the day to be brown because that gives me luck. No matter the color of the show, though, you know I'm gonna make 'em look good when they put that shoe on the wood. I want to show everyone my shine and make it worth their dime."