I’m turning fifty this year, and I have had, thank the non-denominational deity or natural selection theory of your choice, had very few health problems. One I have had, however, is feet. Everybody’s got a pair (well most of us do, at least), and after about forty years of wearing shoes on mine, I learned something: they hurt.
I have, arguably, the flattest feet in the free world. Consequently, wearing shoes for years and years gave me very bad bunions. I had surgery on one, then, finally, the other. The surgery was easy—I watched the first one, wide awake…there was some sawing and drilling—and I had a fantastic surgeon. I had the benefit of watching her do about 30 of these “chevron” surgeries before I gave her the okay. The recovery hurt a lot, and the physical therapy to get my range of motion back was even more painful… In short, I decided to never need surgery again. I asked my surgeon what I could do, and she gave me a prescription for shoe inserts, then said: “If you really want to prevent them recurring, don’t wear shoes.” I questioned her on this, and there is apparently a lot of evidence that unshod peoples do not develop bunions… Wow!
So, though this was not my goal in life, I have found an “unshod” career. I write. Unfortunately, this is also a sedentary career, so I have also cultivated unshod hobbies: I sail, I snorkel, I play RPG’s. I don’t count drinking coffee or alcohol as hobbies, but those also do not require footwear, so I’m all over them both! I also do a lot of boat maintenance, and unless it’s absolutely necessary… you guessed it: Barefoot! We do, however, enjoy long walks (long, like 5-7 miles) and I wear shoes for those…ouch. Seems that even runners are going bare these days, however… Check out this article on NPR on Barefoot running. I have not gone that far yet, but maybe I will.
The bad news: people in public expect you to wear shoes. That seems silly to me now, especially since most public places are either paved, carpeted or have some type of smooth surface. I also really take exception to those signs “No Shoes, No Shirt, No Service”! Just once, I would like to walk in wearing a shirt and shoes—ONLY a shirt and shoes—and ask for a hamburger.
So, convention season is coming up, and I’ll be going to several, but if you see me standing behind a booth, you can bet your Berkenstocks that I’m naked below the ankle!