Fred is the bold, the beautiful, the original FOOT.
Like many of us, he loves fresh air, soft grass and hot stone massages.
Like the generations and generations of Feet that came before him, he knows how to work hard.
"Oh the stories they used to tell!" he exclaims.
He loves to move: all one-hundred and thirty parts of him. With a bit of the mind and body's help, he can bend, grab, push, pull, twist, hop, bound, skip, jump, dance and run.
You name it, he can do it!
His defining feature, his broad toes, fan outward,
providing a fantastic fulcrum and added stability in every graceful step.
Like many of us, he gets bored and stiff when stuck in one position for long period of time, or when he simply doesn't get the opportunity to do work, which, he says,
is happening more and more often.
"Life is so easy these days, there's just not much to do,"
he wipes away a tear, "and it's killing us."
He absolutely hates his "cell" he calls it.
We know it as modern footwear.
"It's smaller than I am!" he cries. "While the rest of the body gets to
twist, push, pull, turn, reach and roll," he says...
He can't understand why he's put there or what he does to deserve it.
He is let out from time to time but not nearly enough.
He rarely gets to touch and feel the earth - something he loves. Because of that he's lost his thick fatty padding that used to cushion and protect him when he hit the ground.
"Now I'm not much more than skin and bones down there," he sighs.
"And on top of that," he continued...
"When I lived outside, I used to have FANTASTIC conversations with the Brain. I told it everything I knew: what I was feeling, where I was going, what I was doing. It's an incredible listener. Like an Army General the Brain would respond with lightening speed with action steps that all the Muscles, including mine, hustled to carry out. Brain always said 'the more messages the merrier!' It was true. Everything just felt better when we had those chats. All the Muscles said so too.
Now? Well, we don't talk much anymore...there's just not much to talk about. In the cell I don't feel much, don't get to do much and can't see where I'm going. What's there to tell?
Sadly I've heard that, without my input, the Brain simply does not have as much information as it needs to direct the Muscles as quickly and confidently as it used to. I know it's affected my performance. I don't have the hustle anymore. The Ankle is a wreck because of it. And the Neck, Back, Hips and Shoulders? It's chaos up there they say."
"If they just let me out, I could help!" he pleaded with a twinkle in his eye.
He's overheard people say with approval, "These [shoes] are good...I can wiggle my toes." "Ha!" he says, "Imagine your whole body, stuck in a cast, proclaiming:
'Yep, I'm good...I can wiggle my nose!'
There is so much more to us than that."
In the cell he knows little by little he loses the strength to maintain his posture and alignment. His muscles get weak and his joints get stiff.
"Nothing I can do about it. I can hardly move!" Fred says.
"The Ligaments say it best. 'Like a pogo stick turned into peanut brittle,'" they like to say, 'We used to be long and strong, now we're all lumpy and crunchy.'"
One of the worst parts of his time in the cell is losing his lovely spade shape.
"It happens at such an early age these days. Age four? Definitely by age six," he sighs.
He knows it all too well. The toes go first, slouching their way inward
to avoid the incessant pressure felt all around.
"Believe me, I try! Every step I take, Mr. Big Toe and the Four Little Toes bend and push as hard as they can to go where they need to go. Sometimes they manage to bust through the walls on the sides but more often than not it's no use. They eventually give up and cave in. When that happens everything else is affected. No one can work as hard as they once did. It's impossible.
You should see the sadness in my Muscles and Ligaments when Big Toe quits.
Oh people find a way to walk without them," he continues.
That always amazes me...the teamwork...other body parts pitching in. Often they're not 100% happy about it, but they'll do it.
Some scream like Plantar Fascia.
Others sometimes quit completely. Achilles Tendon likes to do that.
But they all try to help. The body's a genius isn't it?"
"I love my form AND my functions! But eventually you've just got to adapt. I had to de-form. It's just easier that way," he says.
He knows the implications, but he's powerless against it.
"Why me?" he cries. "Like a glove on Harry [the hand,] I realize there would be times he would need to be protected, but could you imagine him wearing a stiff mitten, smaller than his hand, most of his life?" Fred continues pensively:
"I just wish people had an idea of what I was truly capable of."
He paused for a moment then exclaimed:
"But wait! I have an idea!
It's true, sometimes it's too hot or cold, too jagged and sharp and there are all sorts of sports that want me INSIDE for good reason.
What if, for those times when I need to be protected,
the cell could be shaped like me!
I'd be wider. I could spread out! More of my Muscles could work! Mr. Big Toe and the Four Little Toes could go where they need to go. I'd be able to send the Brain a few more messages and provide a lot more support for Ankles, Knees, Hips, Head and, well, EVERYBODY!
I feel better already! Look at meeeee!
Has no one thought of this yet? It seems so simple.
It seems I need your help. Would YOU out there speak up for me??