Monday, December 2, 2013

Foot Notes

My baby’s got big feet / Tall, lanky, got nothing to eat / but she’s my baby / love her just the same / crazy ‘bout that woman / ‘cause Caldonia’s her name.                                            
                                                             Louis Jordan 1945

Peggy’s got big feet, too. But that’s not why I married her. Big feet, big heart, big life. As we get taller as a nation our feet grow to catch up with us. The average woman’s shoe size has doubled in the past century from 4 to 9.

Peggy wears a 10. I come in at 11 extra wide. As for a correlation between big feet and genital size I can put that fable to rest. Now it’s enough to have a large digital footprint.

I love you baby/ but your feet's too big  ...............Fats Waller                                                                                                                                                                   
Mine are nothing compared to Lincoln’s size 14, the largest on record though other web sites claim Warren Harding and still another says it was John Adams. The shortest feet belonged to Rutherford B Hayes and look what happened to him.  All this must mean something but the symbolism eludes me. If we ignore Harding we might  be on to something..

Teddy Roosevelt said to walk softly but carry a big stick. My preference would be to walk big(ly) and carry a soft stick.  George W Bush was famous for putting his foot in his mouth so it must have been no larger than a 9 ½. Obama found out that it is easier to talk the talk than it is to walk the walk.

In China up until recent years bound feet were the fate of girls supposedly to make them more desirable for marrying off. The Chinese phrase for this nonsense was, a tender young willow shoot in a spring breeze. No surer sign of societal retardation than this hideous notion.

If folks bought shoes the way stores sold them our closets would all look like Imelda Marcos's. They have running shoes and hiking shoes, jogging shoes and trotting shoes, shoes for strolling and others for moseying and a different one for loitering, shoes for mailing a letter and others for walking into the bedroom, to say nothing of shoes for every sport at every position. The last ones I bought were three years ago. I know this because the store moved about that time and I couldn't find it. It just got up and walked away presumably in special shoes.                                   

I wore my new shoes the other day. Not one of the eleven people we had over said a word. Maybe they all met afterward and couldn’t stop talking about them but I doubt it. There’s nothing quite like new shoes particularly when they fit like old shoes. When kids of my age got new shoes it was accompanied by a small dose of radiation, unbeknown to our mothers. We used to stick our feet inside a fluoroscope machine where the salesman would point out how perfectly they fit yet with room to grow.

Possibly my only talent as a young father was my super-human toes. I would delight my daughters by holding five cards between my toes. This earned me the title of Chief Big Toe. Now my nails have turned dark and unruly. Jungle rot, I suppose but I can’t recall every trudging through any jungle except at Disneyland. Not that we really need our toes. We can tap something else. In a few hundred thousand years they will probably fall off as vestigial organs. There’s no future in becoming a pedicurist.

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