As I think about much of the advice that I keep seeing coming from podiatrists and other experts, I figure I must be doing something wrong.
Their admonitions just aren’t coming true.
For instance, in And They Call This Advice?, I found out that I shouldn’t go barefoot on a beach. After all, that’ll burn my feet, give me horrible infections, plantar warts, or even ringworm.
But I’ve walked on plenty of beaches (just recently in Puerto Montt, Chile), and I haven’t had any of those things.
I must be doing it wrong.
And then, in They Just Cannot Resist, we’re told how important it is to have supportive shoes. After all, “a good supportive sneaker is important to protect the foot.”
Yet, somehow, without all that support, my foot muscles are quite strong and I manage to hike around a lot, even carrying a heavy backpack, and nothing bad has happened.
Maybe I’m doing it wrong.
To continue, in No Bare Feet In This Store, I found out all about all these dangers to bare feet in store, where I could cut my feet on all sorts of hazards. And we heard from a podiatrist who taught us that, because feet are so far from the core of the body, they heal much more slowly. Oh, and I should have broken down arches from walking on concrete.
Gee, I’ve been going into all sorts of stores, from grocery stores to hardware stores for a very long time, and I’ve never managed to hurt my feet in one. Am I going into the wrong stores? Am I doing it wrong?
And I have occasionally scratched my feet (almost exclusively while bushwhacking through thick underbrush in a forest), and they always heal up quite nicely.
What’s wrong with my body? Doesn’t it know the way it is supposed to act?
And where are my broken down arches?
I must be doing something wrong.
It gets worse: in Penny Arcadia — Part 2, I learned I should have plantar fasciitis, athlete’s foot, and foot dermatitis.
But I’ve never had any of those things (well, maybe some athlete’s foot when I was younger and wore shoes), but my going barefoot is supposed to give me those ailments.
Can’t I even walk barefoot right?
In Airport Scare-Ya, I also found out all about how I shouldn’t even go through security barefoot if I can help it. I’m supposed to have gotten athlete’s foot (again!) and planter warts. I should also be concerned about herpes and MRSA.
Where are my warts? What could I possibly be doing wrong?
In fact, I just spent the last few weeks doing quite a bit of flying, completely barefoot, and I haven’t gotten any of those things.
I am such a screw-up.
And then, in Mid-Flight Mis-Focus, I learned that I’m really supposed to be offending people when I fly barefoot.
Yes, flying to and from Rapa Nui (and then to Puerto Montt) there were three of us working really hard to try to offend all of the other passengers. But they just wouldn’t take the bait. Maybe part of that was because, despite our best efforts, our feet didn’t stink they way they are supposed to.
How could we be so incompetent?
But there were others on the planes who were equally incompetent. I saw a fair number of other passengers who, while they didn’t board barefoot, did take their shoes off, and somehow they didn’t ruin the flight, either.
So we must have been doing something wrong.
But when we returned back to the United States, both Alan Bruens and I started learning how to be better at it. The Dallas/Ft. Worth Airport restored my faith in humanity.
Let me interrupt for a second to remind folks of the process when you fly back into the country. First, you go through immigration, where they check your passport to make sure you are allowed back in. Then you retrieve your luggage so that you can go through Customs with all your goods, so that they can search it all if they want to. After that, you have to recheck your non-carry-on luggage. And then finally you have to go through security again (to make sure, for instance, that you didn’t retrieve a knife from your checked baggage).
In my case, when I was rechecking my one bag, the guy doing it wanted to know where my shoes were. And then other people started coming over because they were concerned too. I just pointed at my carry-on, said they were inside, and kept walking.
But it was a nice greeting back to the United States. I feel like I really gave them something important to do.
I finally got something right.
But Alan really topped me. First, they lost his luggage, so he had to deal with that. And then, when it was time to go through the TSA checkpoint (with only his carry-on), the TSA agent told him, “You don’t have to take off your shoes.” He wasn’t wearing any, and told that to the agent. And then the agent told him he had to put his shoes on. Because of Health Codes. Yes, a TSA agent was making somebody put on shoes, not take them off. (Oh, and Alan also showed her his Texas health code letter—made no never-mind.)
So he was forced to get out his flip-flops and put them on for 20 feet (at which point he took them right off again).
Whew! I hope you can appreciate just how hard that TSA agent was working to protect us, because we just cannot do anything right. But at least he was protected for those 20 feet.
After all, all the experts keep telling us about all the bad things that are supposed to happen to us for going barefoot, and we just don’t have the talent or dedication to have happen to us the things they tell us should happen to us.
Why do we keep doing it so wrong?