Sunday, March 12, 2006

Why are feet (and podiatry) so funny?

Dave Allen (1936 - 2005) was one of the comic geniuses of our time. He once told a reporter the he would like the following inscription on his gravestone.

“ Don’t morn for me now, don’t mourn for me never,
I’m going to go nothing for ever and ever.”

Epitaphs are very interesting and my person favourite is.

“Under this sod, lies an other sod.”

During the First World War when the US troops were stationed in England awaiting orders to invade Europe a Doughboy wrote to a local chiropodist asking if he could buy a scalpel to scrape the hard skin from his feet whilst in the trenches. Ever wary of self treatment the conscientious chiropodist wrote the following verse back.

“Here lies the body of Robert Orton,
his demise they say was sadly brought on.
One day, his corn he tried to mow off,
the razor slipped and cut his toe off.
The toe or what it quickly flew too,
an inflammation soon took to.
And then it took to mortifying,
And poor dear Robert took to dying.

Millions of men died in the First World War but it appears this fellow survived and returned to the US. For the very same epitaph was discovered years later on a tombstone in Middle America.

G.K. Chesterton was fascinated with sore feet and noted that when he told his friends his feet were sore, they laughed, but when he complained of his sore feet, they gave him sympathy. Feet continue to be the source of merriment and no one appears to know the reason why. In the popular comedy series Seinfeld, there are several references to George Costanza getting into podiatry school; and in one episode, Elaine and Jerry have a wonderfully funny discussion about whether her podiatrist boyfriend is a bona fide medically qualified doctor or not.

In 2003, the In laws, starring Michael Douglas as an undercover agent of the CIA whose son, Mark (Ryan Reynolds), is getting married to Melissa Peyser (Lindsay Sloane). Her father is mild-mannered foot doctor, Jerry Peyser (Albert Brooks). When the two families meet for dinner, Peyser stumbles on to Steve Tobias' secret operation as Tobias tries to set up a deal to sell a Russian submarine, the Olga, to an arms smuggler in France as a bait. As Peyser's incidental involvement increases, he is suspected by the FBI of being part of a seemingly malicious deal. Dragged kicking and screaming, Peyser decides he does not want to be involved in the deal or with Tobias' family. The two fathers-in-law end up dodging bullets, jumping off buildings, and stealing jets together as they attempt to avoid capture by the FBI.

Here are a couple of contemporary examples of foot fun.

A woman went to a sex therapist, confiding that she found it increasingly difficult to find a man who could satisfy her, and that it was very wearisome getting in and out of all these short-term relationships.

"Isn't there some way to judge the size of a man's equipment from the outside?" she asked earnestly.

"The only foolproof way, is by the size of his feet," counseled the therapist.

So the woman went downtown and proceeded to cruise the streets, until she came across a young fellow standing in an unemployment line with the biggest feet she had ever laid her eyes on. She took him out to dinner, wined and dined him, and then took him back to her apartment for an evening of abandon.

When the man woke up the next morning, the woman had already gone but, by the bedside table was a $20 bill and a note that read,

"With my compliments, take this money and go out and buy a pair of shoes that fit you."

A young couple are planning to get married. But the groom has very smelly feet and the bride terrible halitosis. Neither of them want the other to discover their problem so he decides to always wear socks in bed , and she decides never to say a word first thing in the morning until she has brushed her teeth. The couple get married and for the first six months neither one knows of the other's problem, thanks to him keeping his socks on and her morning silence. Then shortly before dawn one morning, the husband woke with a start to find that one of his socks had come off. He frantically searches the bed but can not find it anywhere. All the movement wakes his wife and without thinking, she turned to him and asked,
"What on earth are you doing?"
"Oh, my," he replied, "you've swallowed my sock!"

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