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Archive for September, 2011

Here’s another in my series of colorful characters, figures from that past who regularly went barefoot and became local legends. We often don’t find out too much about them. They’re just an anecdote buried in some old book somewhere.

But they are genuine people who just didn’t see the need for shoes. They relied on what nature supplied them, and then took advantage of it.

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Goss Hollow in Cantwell Cliffs

On Tuesday I decided I needed a short hike at Cantwell Cliffs. It had been about a week of on-and-off rain since my last hike, and my (bare) feet needed it. All of me needed it.

It also gave me a great opportunity to go off-trail and explore more of the area. My goal was to head into Goss Hollow.

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Hit the Showers

One of the things we’ll sometimes hear from others objecting to our barefootedness is that our feet are somehow “dirty”, and that this is a reason we should not do so.

Yet, nobody seems to object to the fact that the bottoms of shoes touch and pick up the same sort of “dirt”, or that the tread on those shoes do a pretty good job of tracking it around.

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Overbearing and Uninformed Police

I’ve been harassed by cops who were sure that my being barefoot in government buildings was illegal. I have a friend who actually was arrested by a cop because that cop thought it was illegal to be in a grocery store while barefoot. (He was acquitted.)

Just what is it about some cops?

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Greedy Podiatrists?

Over at MyFiveFingers.com, Brian Patterson recently asked Is Podiatry a Problem? His question was prompted by a new study, Effect of a five-toed minimal protection shoe on static and dynamic ankle position sense that concluded that those who run barefoot (and, incidentally, those wearing minimal shoes) get a better estimation of the slope they are running on than shoes wearing padded running shoes.

The Barefoot Professor, Dr. Daniel Howell, responded with

I don’t think it’s an issue of greed, but worldview. You?

Here’s where I weigh in.

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This Ability

We’ve seen many times that the employees of businesses can get quite adamant in their ignorance. Their excuses for tossing barefooters will shift from non-existent health code to non-existent corporate rules to non-existent insurance excuses. Then, if you get through all that, often some corporate weenie will make up a rule right on the spot. (I’ve had them tell me, no, it is not written down anywhere, but it’s a rule now.)

In last Wednesday’s entry, How Wanton, Barefoot Ward asked a question in a comment:

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Walking a Tight Rope

The Columbus Dispatch had another interesting photo today. They seem to have one of these sorts of “feature photos” (nice, large photos of around town, unassociated with any particular story) in each issue, and I like them. I’ve been reading newspapers for a long time (since Junior High days) and this is one of the areas I think they can distinguish themselves from all the internet content.

It seems that this past summer, an awful lot of them have featured barefoot people.

So did yesterday’s.

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Trends

Sometimes it is easy to despair that things will never change. Getting kicked out of some store, or overhearing some nasty comment can make us think that the current attitudes will just continue forever.

Yet, there are bright spots indicating positive change.

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How Wanton

This is another in a random series of entries regarding the liability of businesses in regards to barefooted customers or patrons. The last one, from last Friday, was Fear of Flooring, which noted that slip and fall accidents are the number one cause of injuries in supermarkets.

This time I’m going to discuss libraries.

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Violating Social Conventions

One thing that’s not always appreciated is that context really makes a difference when it comes to acceptance to bare feet. Bare feet are accepted when people expect bare feet to be there, and they are often rejected in contexts in which they are not expected.

Then, when those bare feet are seen in unexpected locations, those against them have to rationalize an excuse, any excuse, why they are bad.

Thus, those who go barefooted are really usually battling social convention, not any intrinsic problem with being barefooted.

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There are two marathon wins in the news right now. The first is by Dr. Mark Cucuzzella in the Air Force Marathon near Dayton, OH, who, though often touted as a barefoot runner, wore minimalist shoes. The other win was in the Fox Valley Marathon (just west of Chicago), which was one by Tim Cunningham from Charlottesville, VA. Tim really did run the whole race barefoot.

I don’t get it.

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Fear of Flooring

On Friday I wrote about Business Owners and Barefoot Insurance, which followed up on an even earlier entry about Business Owners and “Trust”. The general point of those entries was that business owners have an unreasonable fear of barefooted customers. They have no idea what the relative risks are of being sued, and, when pressed, end up assuming that “No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service” signs were started because businesses were being sued right and left for being barefoot. Of course, that was not the case.

So, what should they be afraid of?

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Boffo Bufo

Here’s another visitor I found wandering around my yard the other day.

American Toad

American Toad

That’s an American Toad, Bufo americanus (newer taxonomy: Anaxyrus americanus).

This guy was at least 100 feet from my creek, and was sitting between two trees.

It’s amazing what one can find if one just looks around.

Howdy!

Howdy!

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Business Owners and Barefoot Insurance

Last month I wrote about Business Owners and “Trust”, looking at a lot of negligence lawsuits and discussing a user comment regarding the cost and time of a possible lawsuit from a barefoot injury (while completely ignoring possible lawsuits from all sorts of other footwear injuries).

A small-business owner and friend has pointed out to me that it is the insurance companies who spend the time and money. Here’s what he told me.

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Drivin’ Down the Road

This is what I saw when I was driving down the road yesterday. Looks pretty comfortable.

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