A friend of mine posted a picture of her stretching on an airplane while waiting to fly. She was doing the splits with one socked foot on a head rest. Most people enjoyed the post. But one guy was severely offended. He ranted about how many germs her foot carries and how disrespectful it was to have a foot on a headrest. I wanted to write “Lighten up Francis!” (from the movie “Stripes”).
I hear this kind of rhetoric a lot. Some lady at my yoga studio made some antiseptic comment as well with her cleanliness hysteria. Do you know there aren’t any laws or health code violations for being barefoot in a restaurant or grocery store? A private store owner can do what they want. But the “No Shoes, No Service” idea is without merit. I’d be barefoot everywhere if they’d let me.
Do you want to know the truth? If I step on dog poop with my shoes on, it gets into the crevices of my soles and I carry it everywhere. If I don’t smell it, then I don’t even know its there. Yet, you’d let me walk into any store with those shoes. But if I am barefoot, 95% of the time I’m going to know I stepped in dog poop. And for me, 90% of the time, I won’t do anything about it. The bare soles of my feet are much better at self-cleaning than shoes are. And the cells of my epidermis slough off routinely and I get a fresh batch of cells deposited non-stop.
Once, I was walking barefoot to the Yoga studio, which is attached to a small mall. Some girl showing off for her two BFFs yelled out that I’m going to get a tapeworm. They all had a good laugh about that. Truth be told, I’ve never gotten any infection from bacteria, fungi, or nematodes since adopting barefootedness. I used to get Athlete’s foot all the time when I wore shoes too much. Shoes are perfect humidors that stay nice and moist for bacteria and fungi to grow. Believe me, my Ph.D. is in Microbiology. I did read the other day of a guy who pulled a 5 foot tapeworm out of his body because he ate raw sushi on a daily basis.
But people always claim they need boots for hiking. They need a special shoe to workout in. I used to go the CrossFit box and did all my workouts barefoot. Two sisters hiked the entire Appalachian trail South and back North barefoot. You don’t need no stinkin’ shoes!! You also don’t need a wrist brace. Or any kind of brace unless you are completely disabled. Frozen shoulder is mostly caused by being immobilized for too long. When you get a hip replacement these days, they have you walking within 24 hours. Don’t bubble wrap your life. You have to keep moving and being exposed to life. You don’t need clothes or a mat to do yoga. You don’t need a gym to do a workout. Just do it!
In the old days, if a kid came down with Chicken Pox or other communicable disease, parents would put their other kids in the bed with the sick one so that they’d get inoculated and thereby immune. We essentially do the same thing with vaccines. But vaccines are inert and won’t hurt you. Yeah, you’ll hear celebrities yap about the dangers of vaccines (and their Ph.D.’s are in what?). Most celebrities dropped out of school. I never listen to celebrities. Or people who tell me to put my shoes on.
People nowadays carry hand sanitizer. They are hypochondriacs living a Howard Hughes existence. They should pick up a book on Immunology. The human body has an amazing system for battling things. When I was a kid, there wasn’t a single kid with a food allergy to anything. We were farm boys. We worked with cattle and ran barefoot through the woods. When we got a boo-boo, Dad said “rub some dirt on it”! When I was in the Army, we sat in foxholes for days eating and doing all of our bodily functions. I never got sick from being in a foxhole.
Yet society wants to be bubble-wrapped. They coddle their kids to the point of being completely incapable of dealing with their environments. They never know how to deal with feeling cold or hungry. Everybody needs a food FAST now and then; its good for fat burning. Everybody needs to sit in the hot or cold without reprieve so they can develop heatshock proteins in their bodies. You can’t bubble-wrap yourself all the time with all the comforts of excess.
And coddling is not just physical, its mental too. If they are never exposed to hardship, they won’t be able to handle the world. They’ll need “counseling” and “safe spaces”. They don’t know how to fight for themselves. They get “triggered” by the smallest offense. They expect someone else to change their car tire when it goes flat. They will wait many minutes for the police to save them, when most offenses happen within the first 1 or 2 minutes of an altercation. If you know how to fight for yourself in any arena, you’ll be more confident. Mental and physical confidence breeds a kind of beauty unto itself.
Don’t bubble-wrap yourself, your kids, or anything you love. Instead, a little tough love goes a long way. Let them carry a bruise as a badge of honor. My parents were actually proud when I came home with a black eye from a wrestling match. I think they wanted to parade me in front of their friends to see the fighter I am. Kids at school said “I’d hate to see the other guy”. I know this sounds like a lot of Neanderthal machismo. But I don’t apologize. I know tough women who thrive in the mountains. I know kids who don’t cry when they fall down. I have a little dog that ran face first into a concrete step and didn’t feel sorry for itself one bit. These are the tough creatures that rise above it all.
Do me a favor. Lose the bubble wrap!