Thursday, August 5, 2010

Going Down in Dee Feet!

It is definitely a personal first for me. Before this week, I have never had my feet analyzed – in public, at such a reputable, upstanding pseudo-medical establishment as a sports shoe store in the mall! Yep! I’m proud to say that my feet have “stepped up" and "stepped into” the scientific age!

Since we were going to the mall in search of new running shoes, Janice strongly suggested (as only wives can do) that I should temporarily abandon the near-universal male Greek practice of going sockless in summer. Before we left the house, I actually put on (clean) socks. Once at the spiffy sports shoe store, in front of God and anyone else who cared to look, I disrobed my pretty feet by removing the shoes I was wearing and the fresh socks (Told you I didn’t need to wear those socks!) and stood on this fancy, freshly sanitized “foot analyzer.”

I choose to believe it was because my unshod feet are, well, attractive (he modestly said); maybe it was just a slow day at the mall; I’m certain it is not because my feet are in any way eccentric; maybe Greeks don’t often get a close-up look at American toenails; but, for whatever reason, lots of passersby stopped passing by and gawked at my feet. So here I am, standing barefoot and, by the way, holding up each pant leg, so that they would not interfere with the podiatric photo-taking. It was certainly one of my prouder public moments since potty-training.

Buzzing, whirring and techno-electric sounds came from beneath my toes. A hush fell over the crowd. A faint, vibratory action only slightly titillated my tootsies. I continued to stand bendingly tall, despite my embarrassment. (“Never let ‘em see you sweat!”) After a few breathless moments, a suitable for framing picture of the bottoms of my feet appeared on the computer screen. Don’t laugh! Have you ever seen a scientifically accurate rendition of the undersides of your “under standing”?

Pavlo, (not Pavlov) the highly trained, 21-year-old, minimum-wage Greek guy who was trying to sell me a pair of shoes, looked intently at the picture. With a device that looked a lot like “etch-a-sketch” (from when my feet were much smaller and more suited to running and jumping), Pavlo drew computerized lines, took deep breaths, grunted knowingly and completed the scientific analysis of my feet. I resisted the temptation to tell Pavlo about my lower left hip, the slight curvature of my spine and other medically related conclusions arrived at by his professional colleagues in doctor’s offices on two continents.

At last, Pavlo gave a nod, indicating that the “test” was complete. With a couple of Star Wars-like computer sounds, he assumed full control of the Star Ship computer, charging the machine to come to its conclusions and to “beam up” its results, post haste. “There’s good news and not so good news, Mr. Neville!” Pavlo said. (They never get my name right over here!) “The good news is that your feet and (apparently) your stride are normal.” (What a relief! Put that on the resume’!)

“The not so good news is that you will need extra support and, of course, if you continue to run each day, you will want extra cushioning.” The bottom line of these conclusions is that (Am I surprised?) the better choice for my shoe purchase “would need to come from the ‘higher end’ of the price continuum!” I love it when salespersons speak scientific and multi-syllabic!

So, I bought some new running shoes AND two pairs of specialized running socks! But more importantly, each night, as I take off my shoes, go to bed and put my feet up, I can rest easy, knowing that my own personal “base-line” has been established. My records are now (and for eternity) stored in the company computer. And, every time I need to consider buying new running shoes, I need not fret; I can simply consult my friendly and favorite, globally-connected, sports shoe company.

Still standing on my own two feet, another day older in paradise!