One day a man wearing brand-new boots was walking around town when he was approached by another man, a complete stranger, who proceeded to bow and shake hands and chat as if he were an old friend.
Our fellow in the new boots said in a puzzled tone, "I'm terribly sorry, sir, but I don't believe we have ever met before!"
The stranger laughed testily. "So, now that you've got yourself some new boots you're too good for your old friends, eh?"
The stranger then snatched the hat from the puzzled man's head and tossed it onto the roof of a nearby building before walking off.
Our hatless man assumed that the fellow must have been drunk, and was just wondering what to do next when another fellow came towards him, saying, "That was a really nasty trick that man played on you! You really need a hat on a hot, sunny day like today, too. It'd pay to get your hat down off that roof."
The man wearing the boots replied, "You're right, but without a ladder there's really not much I can do."
His new acquaintance then made a generous offer. "Why don't you stand on my shoulders and I'll hoist you up? I'm a real do-gooder, aren't I?"
Gratefully accepting, the man with the new boots made as if to climb onto the other's back.
The kneeling man, for his part, shrugged his shoulders and turned away looking rather upset.
"Hang on a minute! Don't be in such a hurry. I know you're rather keen on that hat of yours, but what about my shirt? I'm rather keen on my shirt, too, you know, and even though your boots are pretty new they're still quite muddy. I'm sure you don't want to dirty my shirt, do you?"
This speech left the hatless man quite embarrassed, so he removed his new boots and left them on the ground in the care of his new friend.