Via a comment from Dan (thanks!), we get a commentary from the Thomaston (Georgia) Times, entitled Life, liberty, and the pursuit of being barefoot.
Excuse me while I go cry some crocodile tears.
In some ways, it’s a pretty nice story. The author, Len Robbins, tells us about his 8-year-old son who really likes to go barefoot. In fact, the story is prompted when he goes to pick up his son from Sunday School only to find him barefoot:
“Why do you take off your shoes every time you go inside?”
His answer sounds smart-alecky, but it was delivered matter-of-fact.
“When you’re younger, you’ll understand,” he said.
Len claims to understand. He claims that he’d really rather not wear shoes. He says his feet like to breathe.
Great! And it is great that he is letting his son experience being a “Barefoot Boy” and the joys associated with that. We all know what he is talking about, and we follow through.
But then he then goes on to present what we all know are just specious reasons for not going barefoot himself.
Meanwhile, I labor through day after day, forced to cover my feet against their will. It shouldn’t be this way. Why can’t we live in a utopia where footwear isn’t necessary?
* * *
The issue is that there is too much litter and hot pavement and people dropping anvils and other heavy items in our society. They are the real culprits who are curbing our freedoms, not fellow barefoot enthusiasts.
No, the real issue, as so many of us full-time barefooters demonstrate, is that people who claim to want to go barefoot are so willing to make up ridiculous excuses.
Too much litter? Where the heck does he live?
I very rarely see much litter around, anywhere. And what I do see surely isn’t dangerous or a hindrance to going barefoot. Also, as long as you use your eyes, anything out there shouldn’t be a problem.
Hot pavement? OK, during a Georgia summer I’ll grant him that one.
But there are various tricks one can use, like walking on the grass instead of the pavement, or walking on white lines instead of black asphalt. With a bit of practice, it’s amazing what one can walk on barefoot.
Dropping anvils? That’s the stupidest excuse I’ve ever heard of. If people are dropping anvils, bare feet are the least of your worries. Besides, a regular shoe (or the ever-popular flip-flops) are no protection. Yeah, he’s probably exaggerating for effect, but I still see people wearing flip-flops and not making a big deal of heavy stuff dropping on their feet. It’s just an excuse.
This guy seems to be the king of excuses.
His biggest one is this:
This has led to pain and discomfort, like when I was younger than my son and playing basketball shoeless and stepped on a nail. The shot I received on Dr. Chisholm’s pool table that Saturday nearly 40 years ago convinced me of the value of wearing footwear outdoors. It’s a lesson I’m reminded of frequently because my present-day TV room is where I received that shot.
I’d really like to know how he managed to step on a nail on a basketball court! Didn’t they look around? Wasn’t anybody concerned about deflating the ball, if nothing else? Besides, we all know that nails are quite likely to go right through the bottom of the sole of a shoe (particularly an athletic shoe). He let one incident color everything?
Let’s see how that works in life:
- You fall off your bike while learning to ride: no more bike riding for you because you might get hurt.
- You sprain your ankle while hiking: no more hiking for you because you might get hurt.
- You get in a car accident: no more driving for you because you might get hurt.
- You strain your back shoveling snow (ok, maybe not in Georgia—in Georgia you strain your back playing golf), so you never do it again.
You see my point.
So did Mark Twain, as he wrote in Following the Equator, Vol. 1, as part of Puddn’head Wilson’s New Calendar:
We should be careful to get out of an experience only the wisdom that is in it — and stop there; lest we be like the cat that sits down on a hot stove-lid. She will never sit down on a hot stove-lid again — and that is well; but also she will never sit down on a cold one any more.”
Let us try to be smarter than cats.