Archive for August, 2007

I Believe Therefore Let’s Talk


Now and again the furniture goes on attack and I’m done for. Tables hit me on the hipbone, chairs trip me, and our bed throws me over its side. I end up near or on the floor wondering what I’d ever done to them. I have bruises as proof so please don’t scoff like my husband. I am against scoffing and never do it myself unless I’m responding to the promise of an elected official. When I was young I thought such individuals were doing their best for the country and guileless as newborn pups—I truly thought they were next to God in their goodness and wisdom. So I’ve come by my scoffing at them the rocky uphill way. In all other regards I’m pretty much a believer.

For example: I believe for every drop of rain that falls, a flower grows. You may believe the same— although I doubt either of us has a garden with enough flowers blooming to show for it. A true believer, as you know, doesn’t need proof. A true believer for good reason or no reason has embraced a philosophy or a point of view and will stick by it no matter what. And so, too, the true unbeliever. In fact there may be more true unbelievers than their antonyms. True unbelievers do not believe in evolution, global warming or leap year and some thus can be identified without confrontation when you ask them what day it is.

What difference does it makes what anyone believes or doesn’t believe? Either way whatever is or isn’t remains the same and at the proper time the Almighty, in whom I believe, will let each of us know what’s what and what’s not what. I can’t wait. Can you? Of course that implies I think my beliefs and unbeliefs will prove out, an unbelievable form of hubris for someone who purports to be reasonable, even sane.

On the other hand, what we believe or don’t believe makes a difference in the here and now, as you know perfectly well, because of what we do or don’t do to edify students, protect the shoreline and insure the integrity of the calendar. I can’t believe I had to explain that.

You may have run into the category of people who are neither believers nor unbelievers—they are the I-could-care-lessers. They are seldom interviewed or polled because they could care less. The extremists on the far right of this group are the I-don’t-give-a-s—tters and if you want my advice I suggest you stand back when you run into them because they really, really don’t, which means they could give you a surreptitious pop in the eye for which you probably don’t carry insurance. The extremists on the far left are the I-haven’t-the-faintest idea-ers. They often say, “Whatever.”

One redeeming quality of the latter category is that they are all non-scoffers since you have to believe or not believe in order to scoff. My husband believes what his nanny told him, which is you can’t take a bath until an hour past dinner for fear of drowning. I don’t believe it and yet, unless you count a half-hour laughing fit, I don’t scoff. Never. Oh all right. Twice.

I thought the inanimate objects in the house had given up their aggressive acts for the day, but a door that did not look the least bit menacing just flew back and hit me on the shoulder.

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Foot Fault


August 8th, 2007

I tortured my poor feet for a very long time. Ten years ago they refused to take me where I wanted to go in the shoes I wanted to wear. Since then I haven’t worn heels measuring even one measly inch. Moreover, I can only wear shoes deep enough to accommodate orthotics-plastic molds that match the bottoms of your-that is to say my-feet to correct their imbalances. Such shoes do not win awards for pizzazz.

Details of what I did to torture my feet were seized by the CIA to use against terrorist operatives Here are a few from memory:

I wore high-heeled shoes.

I wore high heels shoes with pointy toes.

I didn’t take off my shoes when they were killing me.

I never soaked them or gave them the time of day.

I just took them bloody well for granted as perhaps you are
now doing yourself.

My mother hated her feet. “They’re ugly,” she’d wail, holding them one at a time and giving them the full force of her most disapproving look before pulling on her panty hose.

“It’s all those years on my feet,” she’d say as if most people had an alternate way of standing and walking about.

“It’s all those years on my hands,” perhaps some woman gymnast is now complaining to a palm-reader looking at the calluses on her mounds of Apollo and Saturn.

“Look at these toes!” my mother would command as if I hadn’t already observed them a few hundred times.

The toe next to her big toe on each foot crossed all the way over its two sister toes and snuggled up to the littlest one. In order to put her foot into a narrow high-heeled shoe she had to force the rambling toe back to where it belonged while moaning and looking up at me for sympathy.

Finding shoes that both feel and look reasonably good to me and pass muster in the eyes of my mother, as well as my two daughters is daunting; my mother does not approve of anything clunky or flat. On my last visit to see her I noted she was in a bad mood the moment I arrived from the airport exhausted from carrying luggage and grateful that my feet were still willing to support me–never mind that I was wearing clunky black running shoes.

“Are you going to wear those?” she asked before I could sit down.

I changed into other shoes somehow more acceptable even though they held my travel-swollen feet as if in a vise.

“Now that’s better, isn’t it?” my mother sighed, flashing, for the first time, a loving smile. “I’ve been worried sick about you.”

My daughters have pretty feet that do not hurt-at least not yet.

Both often wear sling-back, high-heeled numbers destined, were it not for my daily prayers to the Almighty, to catch on something and throw them flat on their lovely faces. Whenever I’m with them something disparaging comes up about my appendages or, rather, what I have elected to put on them.

“Oh my Goddd!” one or the other will say. “Don’t you have any nice shoes?”

I reassure them that as soon as a good percentage of boomers require orthotics, attractive, even stylish, flats will appear in stores and I will be able to look fashionable and move about comfortably at the same time.

A frown crosses each face. What did I say? Oh dear, I completely forgot. They’re on the cusp—call it a foothold—yes, borderline boomers—and if they end up wearing orthotics—it will be, like so much else, all my fault.

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