Thursday, July 24, 2008

Footloose

I work with this really nice fellow that hails from the Midwest. He's sort'a my supervisor, dohn-cha-know...except not. He's a really cool dude; easygoing, affable and extremely funny. He's the type of person that's never short on interesting discussion topics or off-color jokes/remarks. I speak of the sort of guy with which you might have a serious discussion on the ramifications of Iraq troop withdrawal one moment...and what constitutes good bathroom reading material the next. As I stated earlier, he's an interesting cat.

That being said, I wish he didn't have such an affinity for walking around the office barefoot. He's of the ginormous, lumbering, Nordic persuasion; a bigg'un of no less than 6'4", 250 lbs. If you can extrapolate those dimensions into a mental picture of the peds in question, you might come up with something that looks like ten sausages wearing helmets jutting out of a pair of petrified tree stumps. Our office dress policy allows for such freedom in terms of footwear. As a matter of fact, you can pretty much wear (or not wear) whatever you choose so long as it's within reason. I wear funny-looking hats.

So weather permitting - which is the case 11 months of the year here - my colleague takes things back to an ancient time when there were no finer sneakers available than one's own crusty heels. I can't say enough how much I respect this person, but the sight of those swollen, callus-bound groundpounders can be quite disconcerting. I remember an afternoon in which a familiar voice shot out an effusive "Hey, man!" while I was washing my hands in the company restroom. Startled, I quickly looked up from the sink...only to see him, marching onto the filthy, gray tile sans footwear. He nearly met my enchiladas.

While none of my other co-workers have attempted to walk on piss water, many of them love to tromp around on our filthy office carpet as if they're on their way to a Twister tournament. At least they wear socks. Whatever makes you happy, I suppose. I guess empty Equal packets and rug fuzzies sticking to socks...um, rocks?

I'll admit I'm not a huge fan of feet. I think this dislike stems from a childhood memory that features a barefoot friend literally stomping in chunky dog shit while running towards an awaiting Slip-and-Slide. I'll never forget the sight of his mother rinsing rectal fudge from between his toes with a green garden hose. I lost my voice laughing that day and went on to read radio traffic. He has since gone on to become the CEO and majority shareholder of Raging Waters theme parks.

I currently have a buddy who doesn't feel "free" unless he's picking up loose gravel with his toes; as if doing so incites some orgy of moonwalking, dusty-footed ecstasy. He, like my favorite co-worker, is Midwestern.

So, I don't understand this need to be barefoot. And no, I don't sleep with socks on, but you can bet your sweet hindquarters I sock up before I hit the stairs. I guess I just think that feet (especially dude feet) aren't very pleasant things. They're wiggly dirt sponges that sop up germs, and grime and gone uncared for, they sometimes smell like stale bar snacks.

I remember a scene in the movie "Die Hard," in which a fellow passenger on an airplane tells Bruce Willis the secret to surviving air travel...

"You want to know the secret to surviving air travel?" asks the passenger. "After you get where you're going, take off your shoes and your socks then walk around on the rug bare foot and make fists with your toes." (see fig. 1.)

fig. 1.


"I've been doing it for nine years. Yessir, better than a shower and a hot cup of coffee. "

Maybe this guy's method of foot clenching differs from mine, but I was almost certain the best way to survive air travel was hire a competent pilot and drink lots of those little bottles of booze. But, I once accidentally mailed a letter to myself (don't drink and mail), so what the hell do I know?

I now move on to the topic of "girl feet." Girl feet, on average, are typically less revolting than "dude feet." Girl feet often are spackled with pretty pigments and designs, and they almost never smell like Funyuns. But that doesn't mean women shouldn't be looking down while running towards the Slip-and-Slide. It's been said countless times in popular culture that women's bodies (particularly their nether parts) are inherently more beautiful than men's and are therefore more artistically worthy. I have to agree. But try as I might, I can't find anything artistic about foot parasites.

When I was still in the Air Force, an acquaintance once told me (while standing barefoot on molten summer asphalt) "barefoot toughness" was "a white person thing." He was white. This didn't explain the whole East Indian walking on red-hot embers trick, but I nodded in agreement anyway. I'm a black guy - living in a presumptuous world - who speaks English in a manner that would've made Winston Churchill quite proud. Unnecessary compliments and funny looks don't even surprise me anymore. So, trust me when I say I'm very aware of the power of stereotyping and generalization.

I witnessed many people of color people going about their business while wearing nature's Nikes when I last visited my relatives in South Carolina. I can't say there was a great deal of age diversity within that group though. Not one of those footloose individuals was over the age of 12. Maybe that guy I talked to back in the military was onto something. Or perhaps because of his mumbling due to his bottom lip being chock full of chewing tobacco, I didn't hear him correctly.

So I ask those of you who are footloose and fancy free...

As well as those of you as rigid in your shoe-wearing ways as a boot camp recruit standing at attention...

If the shoe fits...

Why not wear it?

11 comments:

Heather said...

OMG A whole post on feet. I am going to make my husband read this, he soooo hates feet. He feels they are unclean even if you just bathed them in bleach. He won't touch my feet, and freaks out if I try to rub them on him. He hates his own feet and is only ever without socks in the shower. And he's 6'4 and wears a size 14.

Aub said...

Heather,

Size 14! Woah! Lol. Yeah, they ARE unclean, although I guess if I was married, I'd rub my wife's feet. I crack up when my mom tries to make my dad rub her feet and he makes this face like he's 10 years old and being forced to eat "icky" vegtables, lol.

April said...

Hey, I’m with you…I cringe at the site of my step-daughter’s blackened (mind you, she’s of the vanilla flavor) raunchy feet after a day at the YMCA running through lord only knows what…not to mention the smell!!! Ugh! Now, I’m not quite as far to the right as you, but I’d say I’m pretty consistent with my shoe or sock wearing values from childhood (we weren’t allowed, even if we wanted to run sans shoes, to do so in the house) So, nonetheless, it’s continued on with me into my adult years. But now, being the only chocolate flavor person thus far in my household, I am looked at as the outcast for constantly wearing socks or shoes in the house…interesting. I think it’s not only a cleanliness thing, but socks and shoes also serve as a courtesy to our environment. I think of them as filters myself. Without said filters, the gases and toxins from the exposed raunchy disease-ridden feet are free to emit into our air ultimately adding to the pollution epidemic. Most certainly not Green…

Aub said...

April,


LOL!!!!!!!!!!!! I swear you kill me, sis! That's right! Funky feet are bad for the environment!

duck said...

you better watch out the bare foot people are going to attack you while you sleep. talk to you man

Aub said...

Now I'm gonna have nightmares about cold, clammy, corn chip feet moving toward my face. barf.

Lola said...

Well, my feet are cute as hell, but I'm no fan of feet attached to others. I won't let my husband rub his gnarly feet up against me, and I would NEVER go barefoot in any bathroom except mine. That's way nasty. When I go to a hotel, I wear socks the whole time I'm there.

Badass Geek said...

While reading this post, I kept on waiting for you to write one cliche line... And then you closed with it. Kudos.

Aub said...

@Lola

My theory on "girl feet" gains even more credibility. Lol.

@Badass Geek

I try to avoid cliches, but that one was just too perfect to ignore. Thanks.

kitten22481 said...

I walk around barefoot a lot...but I am white and from South Carolina. So I guess that puts me at a real disadvantage?

Aub said...

Kitten,

Lol. I think people should do whatever makes them happy. My mom is from South Carolina and she admitted to me that she used to LOVE running around barefoot when she lived there.