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Newsflash: 60% of People Have Mismatched Feet

Posted Jan 21 2010 6:30pm
I'm a freak. And I'm not talking about on the dance floor. Well except for Middle School. But nobody counts Middle School, right? No, I am a biological freak. Specifically, my left foot is a size 8.5 and my right is a 7.5. That's right - a whole size different. It's a miracle I can walk without toppling over (somebody start the telethon!).

I'm not alone in this. 60% of the population have mismatched tootsies with 80% of those people having a left appendage of unnatural length. So I'm going to assume that a lot of you are beautiful little freaks as well (and you know I mean that with love).

You would think that a little extra toe-age wouldn't be a problem - it's actually a bonus when I play the legless piano or shoot hoops with my feet - until you go shoe shopping. Just like every other girl, I'm willing to endure a certain amount of pain for cute shoes. But those cute shoes only have to last an evening (less if the restaurant has long tableclothes so I can kick them off under the table). Athletic shoes are an entirely different matter. A small pain when you put them on can sideline you by the end of your workout.

In the past, I have compromised by buying the mathematical average: a size 8. This leaves my left foot a titch scrunched and my right foot a smidge unsupported but overall it's liveable. I was okay with this.

Until this weekend. I took my son to the Mall of America for his 4th birthday - they have a whole amusement park in there! - and, being 4, he had to go potty righthisveryminute. We were in front of a shoe "wearhouse" so that's where we ducked in. The bathrooms were located twenty miles to the back of the store, which I sprinted carrying a 50-lb child (yes, he's big for his age), behind all the clearance racks. So while child number 2 took a leisurely number 2 - twenty minutes, people* - child number 1 and I tried on shoes.

It was then I had my epiphany. I found a whole shelf of clearanced athletic shoes so while child 1 experimented with blue, jeweled stilettos, ("I can't run fast in these, mommy" "Exactly right son, it's just one way society hobbles women.") I tried on mismatched shoes. And it was niiiiiice. My feet didn't even know what to think of their new found joy. They did cheerleader jumps all of their own accord. They tap danced and I don't even know how to tap. It was amazing.

Now before you get your e-mail all fired up, I know that there are places one can buy mismatched shoes - like the really upscale running stores. But I am nothing if not cheap (a fact that endeared me to many a college boyfriend). So cheap, in fact, that I wouldn't even buy two pairs of clearanced shoes to keep my feet jumping for joy. Well, that and they were New Balance. I hate New Balance.

But now that I've seen what life could be, well, I just can't stop thinking about foot bliss. What's a freak to do? Are you a biological freak of nature in some way too? One nostril twice as big as the other? A wingspan that is downright avian? A mole the exact shape of Chile?

*No, he didn't fall in the toilet. He was enraptured with the urinals. I finally had to send a store employee in after him. He thought the grimy "waterfalls" were better than the Diego Bus Ride that I paid $2.17 for him to ride. Kids.


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