Saturday, February 21, 2009

I have a thing about my feet.  I just don’t like people touching them, boy did that little boundary get trampled on today.

We have been on our feet for endless hours, you know, church, walking through malls, going up and down stairs and walking through airports.  So as we are strolling through the mall Brenda’s eyes are drawn to a sign, “Foot and leg massage.”  It was about 3 dollars for 30 minutes.

Without knowing what I was about to get myself into, I said, “Sure, we can afford $3.”  Thus began one of the most hilarious moments I have ever experienced. 

Brenda talked me into getting the massage also and I consented, because my feet really were very painful.

They lead us back into, what I thought would be a private place, so my ugly feet would be seen by the least number of people possible.  Oh no, they lead us into a circular shaped room, lined with chairs all around, filled by bare foot women and about 10 uniformed feet servers.

As I settled down into my chair I realized there was only one other male in the place, and it is possible he would have been offended if I called him one.

In spite of this, I think, “I will just close my eyes, endure this foot rub and then escape with my dignity intact.

Brenda leaned over to me and whispered, “They are all looking at us.”  It was true.  I mean, we are all in a circle and we were the only Americans.  It was though they were telepathically communicating with each other, “Say hello to the freaks.”

I leaned over to Brenda and quietly said, “I am doing this for you my love.  Appreciate is deeply.  Cherish this moment because it won’t ever come again.”

Brenda giggled.  I should have known right then and there that I was in trouble, but I had forgotten the fact that when Brenda knows she is not supposed to laugh, and something strikes her funny, it is all over.  There is something about that dynamic, the attempted repression of laughter just makes things funnier.  It was a quite as a library and there was just no place to hide.

The guy sat down at my feet, (yes, the guy) and pulled off my shoes and took off my socks.  I actually tried to get them off first, and we had a brief tug of war over my second shoe.  He finally wrested it from my hand, with a look that said, “Dis is my peet.”

So I sat back and tried to relax.  I asked for a magazine to read, but thumbing through the stack of mags they handed me, it only added to my growing knowledge that I was so totally out of my element.  Since I was not the least interested in “Ten Ways to Know Your Man is Cheating” I put the pile of magazines down and laid back with my eyes closed.  That lasted about 3 seconds.

That first touch almost weirded me out.  He was putting his fingers between my toes!  “Why?”  I thought, “Why does this guy need BETWEEN my toes?”

He washed my feet in a trap door and dried them off.

After he washed my feet he put them in a vibrating foot bath and then dried them off again.  He set them up on a little bench and to my horror, brought out tools!  I didn’t sign up for tools.  I just thought it was a foot massage, not all this.  First the between the toes thing, then this?

So I hesitantly said to the guy, “What is all of this?  I don’t want all of this.  I just want a foot massage.”

The giggles from the chair beside me were getting a little louder.  Brenda could see how uncomfortable I was and for some strange reason this made her merry.

“I just want a massage.”  I repeated and the guy just smiled at me and with his eyes locked on mine, “This IS a massage.”  And pulled out some sort of paddle.  It looked like a small ping pong paddle with sand paper on it.

Now, my toes are very sensitive.  They jump when they are touched, especially by a piece of sand paper.  He would drag that paddle across my toe and it would jump.  I tried to keep it still, but that little booger was twitching with every stroke and this guy had a pretty fast pace, so my toes, they were a dancin’.

A few of the foot people started talking in the Filipino, snickering.  They didn’t know that I could understand what they were saying.  One of them said, “This must be his first time.”

Brenda was watching my toes and still giggling.  I even chuckled a little bit, it was kind of funny.

It wasn’t long and the guy with the paddle stopped and said to the girl beside him.  “This won’t work for him.  I need …” I didn’t understand the word he used, but she looked at me and smiled.  I didn’t like that.

The guy got up and in a little while returned holding what I swear was a cheese slicer, or chocolate shaver, or a potato peeler.  Brenda whispered, “That is a razor blade on that thing.”

I started sweating.  What an unpredictable little place this was.

He put that thing to my heel and started shaving.  Now friends, I have Man heels.  Hoofs are close to the truth.  I could hear the chunks falling on the floor.

Men are from Mars, women like cheese graters on their feet.

I thought of just calling the whole thing off, but all those women were just sitting there, pretending to read a magazine but apparently magazines are used in foot places like a lion uses tall grass.  They can see you, but you can’t see them.

They could sense there was blood in the water so they began to circle me with their periodical stares.  I couldn’t quit now, they would all know I was a coward.

I would have given up government secrets if it would have gotten me out of there.

I should have kept my mouth shut but I leaned over to Brenda and said, “I am already the shortest one in my family.  If he keeps that up, I am going to be an inch shorter.”

It just struck her funny.  I mean real funny.  The laughter passed from her to the lady doing her feet, then the guy doing mine, and then some of the others in the room.   They were really laughing.

“One inch! Ha, ha, ha!” The Filipino lady said.  “Dat is berry punny!”  She said holding up her fingers about an inch apart.

I said, “My shoes won’t fit if you keep that up.”

The guy doing my feet let a finger slip between one of my toes again and I pulled my foot back and gave him a stare.

It didn’t even phase him and he picked up where he had left off.  My toes were still jumping and the razor was slicing.  I looked over at Brenda, “What have you gotten me into?”

Folks, things just went downhill from there.  Brenda laughed herself right into a Depend’s commercial.  “I wear depends because you never know when you will be in a foot place with your husband.”

    I told the guy, “Really, you don’t have to get my feet smooth.  That is already good enough.”

The lady doing Brenda’s feet said, “No sir, he will not stop.  He is a ferfectionist.”  And then took a break from Brenda’s feet to enjoy the humor of her statement.  And he didn’t stop either.

When he had carved the corners off of my feet he started with a series of files.  I was praying that eventually my feet would get used to the handling and would stop jumping, but they were apparently in on the joke too.

I didn’t feel like it, but I started laughing too.  By now Brenda was coughing with tears rolling down her cheeks.

“I am going to have to learn how to walk again on these new feet.”  I said. “ I am used to flat heels, but these new round ones… how do you stand on round heels?”

How women enjoy such an experience is beyond me.

When we finally walked out of that place I really did feel shorter.  I didn’t tell Brenda about that, but at the shoe store today, Brenda held up a pair of shoes and asked how I like them.

I just said no.  She put them down and showed me a few others.  She finally held up some flat ones and I said, “Those are the ones baby.”

I guess I have a thing about feet.


Two of my heroes.  Bruce Howell and Carlos Ecle.  Carlos Ecle is a pastor in the Philippines who broke his back when he was twelve and has not walked since.  That has never stopped him. He is a church planter and a great soul winner.  Ecle actually builds his churches with his bare hands even though he is paralyzed from the waist down.  Brother Howell was challenging the ministry to sacrifice and preached a great message about "Nevertheless..." No matter what my obstacles, I am going to keep on going on.
The platform is quite high and Ecle tried to "walk" up the stairs by himself.  He puts his hands on his feet and is actually walking on his hands.
In this photo they are both screaming, "Nevertheless!"

Then with the entire General Conference looking on, he refused the men who stood ready to help, and by himself walked down the steep steps illustrating for all of us, "Nevertheless."