(The below was cobbled together for my “Beautiful Lies, Beautiful Truths” writing class assignment: Write about feet in 250 words or less.)
In Florida, for officer candidate school during WWII, Dad claimed he was “saved by my feet!” Scheduled to ship out to the European theater, the Army couldn’t find or make size 14AAA shoes in time for him to join his regiment eastward across the Atlantic. His feet let him skip the war.
My 15AA’s haven’t exactly saved my life. All of London in 1972 lacked English football shoes that fit, so I couldn’t play on my youth club team when asked last minute to join. Frustrating? Sure! But no survival at stake.
Pointing downwards, strangers inevitably ask to this day, “how big are those things?” They don’t inquire politely. No. They ridicule. They laugh.
What other body part is treated this way? You know. Mockable. No one comes up to me and says “My, your hands are incredibly long!” At 6’5”, my height is a common query. But it’s the darn feet that bring on the jocular ribbing.
Sometimes I lose it, responding, “Is there another part of my body that I have absolutely no control over that you would like to make fun of?” But that unpleasantness only surfaces when I’m having a bad day. And occasionally, my feet emerge as actual assets.
“You know what they say about men with long feet?” a flirtatious woman once asked me.
“No what?” I innocently replied.
“Well… you know,” she demurred, with a coyly arched eyebrow.
OK, I’ll admit it. My racing scull-shaped pods have their advantages after all. Who else has feet as their personal theme song?