All right, Do-Gooders everywhere, listen up. You’re working hard to liberate lab mice, netted dolphins, force-fed geese, and giant firs. But please don’t forget that there are abused living things much, much closer that need your help. In fact, they’re attached to you.
Please look down. See those two lovely body parts that mean so much? (No, no, Ladies; Not those. Please lean forward just a bit.)
See those two incredible things that give you so much pleasure and make you what you are? (No, no, Guys; Not those. I asked the ladies to lean forward, not you.)
Yes! Your feet!
Those poor suckers need to be freed from millennia of disregard and cruelty. Let’s get on ’em!
Ever since our ancestors clambered down from the trees and stumbled out of the jungle to patiently await the discovery of bus routes to take them to every corner of the earth (except to my village of Hemmingford ; Town Motto: ‘If we wanted you here, we’d have transit’), they have relied on the amazing independence of their right and left foot. Had these two wonderful extremities not been able to function independently and strongly from the beginning, those ancestors would have potato-sack-hopped once and then toppled face down into a mammoth pile of Mastodon dung.
We’d probably still be lying there today. We’d certainly have missed the bus.
And yet – one million years later – human treatment of those amazing appendages is appallingly sordid. We keep them out of sight 92.7% of the time, as if they were porno, toilet plungers, mouthwash, or in-laws. We apologize for their aroma, stifle them with Odor-Eaters, and cram them into – not one – but TWO sets of constraints.
All day long. Sometimes at night.
Hands, meanwhile, get all the attention. We can give one, shake one, deal one, and read them. They form part of our vernacular: southpaw, right-hand man, left-handed compliment, sinister, handy, and palm trees, for Christ’s sake.
Look at the facts: Majestic horses are measured in hands, but sad graves are dug in feet (Six of them, or 18 hands, if you’re wondering.)
Hands up and hands down are both positive exclamations, but one foot in the grave is not something you want to hear from your doctor or the hit man.
If hands are so much god-damn better than feet, try walking the dog on them in the morning, huh?
Let’s face it: The world is afflicted with Footaphobia. You. Me. Everybody. We hate our feet. Each one of them. Now let’s get over it. They’re wonderful, especially at being individual and unique. They were the first human bits on the moon! (For the record: Right; Then left.)
Just compare them to other less heroic anatomical pairs. If feet were as immobile as ears and nostrils, for example, the Winter Olympics would only feature Ski Jumping, and the summer games would consist of Diving and the standing Long Jump. Boring.
If our dear feet were as skittish as testicles, meanwhile, they’d shrink and retract in the cold, and we’d suddenly be unable to see over snow drifts. And they’d be so delicate that soccer games would be very brief. (Note to Self: Rethink this; That may not be such a bad thing.)
And – horrors – imagine feet being like breasts. They’d steal the show at Oscar and Grammy broadcasts, and I don’t even want to think about all the trampled nursing infants.
No, no….feet are perfect just as they are. It is high time we acknowledge them.
YES, Yes, Yes, Mister Foot Champion…But what can we do?
It’s simple. First, feet must no longer be confined day after day after day. It’s evil and inhumane to pin them in socks and shoes. That’s like keeping sows in gestation pens, or Donald Trump in the White House. Liberate them like free-range chickens (but do keep a watchful eye for hawks, and plenty of fresh water available.)
Secondly, individualize your blessed hoofers. Consider that fingers get cute little names like Thumb and Index and That Other One (sometimes known as Middle… or Bird-Flipper), Ring, and darling Pinkie. But toes are collectively demeaned as Piggies, which either go to market or stay home or go Whee-Whee-Whee. Let’s name them; Give them identities. I’m suggesting for the right foot (left to right): Mammoth, Longo, The Other One, Curvy, and Wiggly, and for the left foot (left to right): Wiggly, Curvy, The Other One, Longo, and Mammoth.
But this naming matter is vital to mankind and should be vigorously debated, much like Global Warming (vote NO) and Eradicating House-cats (vote YES).
Next, we must free those excellent extremities from dull sameness. In case you haven’t noticed, they’re each very distinct. They even curve in different directions. Let’s see your buttocks try that, huh.
And yet we forcefully dress them exactly the same, like parents who think it cute that twins Suzie and Ralphie are wearing matching tutus, overalls, and bonnets. Then we wonder why they end up all itchy and calloused and stinky and growing corns. (It’s true. I’ve met both Suzie and Ralphie as grown-ups.)
It is past time we put our (right and left) foot down on this. Let us follow the excellent example of army drill sergeants, who do not bellow “A foot. Foot, Any foot. Foot” at marching cadets. No… they teach them respect for the indivual: “Left. Right. Left. Right.”
We also have the glowing beacon of Daniel Day-Lewis, whose movie was not titled ‘One of My Feet.”
So if you must wear socks (which really makes no sense. Consider that instead of merely having a pungent, sweaty left and right foot, you then add two smelly wet socks and two malodorous shoes to compound the problem), at least make them mis-matched. (This can easily be done without even buying new socks. Check a YouTube tutorial.)
Socks of different colours and patterns not only look snazzy, but make wash-day sorting easier. Do it today.
Lastly comes the biggest challenge in liberating the limbs: cultural change. It won’t happen overnight, but Footists everywhere dream of the day when we can be properly chastised for having a toe up our ass. When detectives can toe a suspect. When we’ve almost got it, but can’t quite put our toe on it. When – in the consenting privacy of your bedroom or a movie theatre – you toe your lover.
Such a cultural change would be of benefit to many, like bank robbers. People with their hands up, after all, can still dart off, or even kick bank robbers to death. (Yes. With their right foot and left. You’re getting it.) But “THIS IS A ROBBERY! PUT YOUR FEET IN THE AIR” creates a docile set of hostages.
So let’s forget the mice and dolphins and geese and firs for a few years. They’re not going anywhere. Let’s now Free the Feet, because they are.
Now is the time to really put our feet up. Now.
Full Disclosure: I am a devout foot lover. I never go anywhere without them. When advised to put my best foot forward I refuse to favour any, and end up toppling backwards. I only ever cover mine with love, and they’ve rewarded me by becoming so strong and tough that I can lope barefoot on gravel and through brambles all day long. (Hey! You have your hobbies; I have mine.)