Best of…” 1997-c

From: J.M.

Subject: What’s really gross…

Date: Jun 1997

At a gas station, a lady attendant there noticed my bare feet: “Don’t you worry about stepping in something?”

“No, not really. I take a long shower about twice a day and wash clean all over so I am standing in hot sudsy water for ten or twenty minutes. When I’m done I’m clean. But did you ever think about the cleanliness of shoes?”

“Uh, no, not really.”

“Every bit of our skin is washed in clean water, but how often do people wash the insides of their shoes? How about NEVER? All of those grooves and pores and corners accumulate sweat, dirt and dead human skin cells over weeks and months. In the damp, dark airless recesses there millions of fungus, yeast and bacteria that eat each other and the dead human skin cells putrefy and ferment there and produce the disgusting smell of shoes.”

“Gross! I never thought of that…”

“Worse yet, people just collect that smelly crud there and hold it next to their skin for most of the day and (if they cross their legs when they eat) wave all that stuff just inches from their food! As if the contents of their shoes was something precious to be kept and stored. After a long hot day I can’t even consider what goes on in there with all those smelly flesh-eating microbes, and some people consider it “clean” to eat wearing shoes!”

“Gee, that’s right. Shoes are really kinda gross if you think about it. And maybe unhealthy.”

“And what about the outsides of shoes? How many people step in unmentionable stuff over days and weeks that gets ground into the crevices of shoes, and just how many people wash their shoes every day in hot soapy water for ten minutes? None, of course. But we do wash our feet and they are as clean daily as our hands. Say, what if you went to a nice restaurant and the waiter asked you if you would like him to place his old shoes next to your food? That’s disgusting, but we do that every time we prepare food with our shoes on. People just never think about some things! Bare feet are clean at least a couple of times a day, but jut think about what goes on inside shoes.”

“Gross! Shoes must be one of the filthiest things in a house! Never thought about it before! And it does feel good to be barefoot sometimes…”

Cordially, J.