The other day I got two big boxes delivered. The contents Required Some Assembly, and inside one of the boxes was the instruction to open that box first. That is because it was the box with the instructions (including Open This Box First) and the square screwdriver. Naturally, the other box was the one I opened first, just by chance, the one with no instructions and no square screwdriver, and went to the hardware store to buy the screwdriver, and now I have two square screwdrivers.
But I did succeed with the assembly, and was feeling mighty, so I decided to tackle a new project. I am going to fix my feet. I have all the parts and all I need to do is get them hooked up right.
My feet aren’t much trouble. They’re kind of little, and don’t prevent me from tipping over, but nothing hurts. I’m super aware of my feet because I know how important they are for everything else. A long time ago I had all kinds of pain; I’d gotten used to it. My back sometimes went out, my knees creaked, and my neck shot out thunderbolts of neuralgia from a childhood injury on my good days, and locked up entirely on the bad. My chiropractor told me (before climbing into her Bentley) I was in for a lifetime of Advil, ice, and adjustments. I put it all to Old Age: after all I was nearly forty.
But when my perfectly fine shoulder went out for no reason, I felt betrayed. That’s when an old gentleman I knew told me he had cancelled his hip replacement surgery after using the exercises in Pete Egoscue’s Pain Free book for one week, and I might want to give it a shot. I’d been doing therapy for a half a year by then to no avail. But after ten days of these simple exercises my shoulder was fine again. And my back wasn’t stiff anymore either. I was stunned. It took me a full month of doing the neck exercises to eliminate thirty years of neck pain, but then I was pain-free, smelled nice, didn’t rattle much, and was totally obnoxious at parties.
Not in the old way. I became an authentic flaming evangelist. Because apparently not everyone has heard the Good News. That little light of mine? I was going to let it shine like the Republican neighbor’s security light through your bedroom window. Everywhere I looked I saw people with duck feet and bow legs and knock knees and a life of misery just around the corner, but I knew how to fix them. I chased people down trying to save them. Total strangers, even. They just needed to get The Book. I was indistinguishable from a Jehovah’s Witness.
So obnoxious was I, in fact, that dozens of friends have told me, enunciating, they Got The Book. They didn’t open it, or use it, but they had it, and hoped that was enough to make me go away.
I know the feet are really important. In fact, if you want to do Egoscue’s carpal-tunnel hand exercises, you’re going to end up on the floor with one foot up on a stool. It seems like cleaning the gutters by clearing out the trap under your kitchen sink. But if your feet are the slightest bit askew, it throws off your whole skeleton. You can get away with it for quite a few years but eventually you’re going down. You’ll be approaching forty thinking you’re supposed to have pain by now.
Anyway, my foot strike is better than most, except my right one is a little squashy, but since I had no pain I never really addressed it. Then the other day I looked and saw a bump near my big toe. Was that there before? I looked it up online. It’s a gol-durn baby bunion. A bunion. Some old-lady bullshit. Land sakes. Next thing my ankles are going to puddle over my black orthopedic shoes and I’ll be wearing my nylons rolled down. I didn’t even know what a bunion was. Evidently I can expect the piggy that went to market to start barging in on the one that stayed home. Oh, no, you don’t. I can fix you.
So I’m finally doing my Egoscue Foot Exercises. It’s supposed to take three weeks. I expect my bump to disappear even though it feels bony. I really do. One day I’m going to look down and that sucker will have been raptured.
I may get bruises from a stiff breeze now and I can’t sleep on my back in case my own neck pleats up and strangles me in my sleep, but my feet are not about to take me down. I’ve got beer for that.