Maria had a miserable day. First she slept through her alarm and had to rush out the door without breakfast. Then her car wouldn’t start, so she had to take the bus to work. She arrived an hour late and after a long reprimanding, spent the rest of the day standing over a hot grill, flipping burgers in 90 degree heat. As if things weren’t bad enough, the air conditioner broke leaving all her coworkers irritable. When at long last her shift was over, Maria was sticky and greasy and in a sour mood.
As she sat on the bus heading home, she was thinking about how things couldn’t possibly get any worse. She should not have humored such a thought. In doing so, she triggered Murphy’s law.
A man stumbled onto the bus bringing with him the stench of stale beer. Maria closed her eyes and prayed he wouldn’t take the empty seat next to her. She breathed a sigh of relief when he sat three seats down. Her relief was short-lived. A moment later he lay down across the empty seats in between them, took off his shoes, and put his feet up on the headrest next to her.
She tried to change seats but, when she stood up the driver yelled at her to sit down. For the next thirty minutes, she breathed air contaminated by stale beer and foot odor.
When she arrived back at her apartment she was a mess both physically and emotionally. She took a long shower but the memory of that stench lingered in her nose.
Alone and on the verge of exploding, she did something no one should ever do. She turned to social media. Her platform of choice was called ChirpChat. ChirpChat, like most social platforms, allowed users to throw their random thoughts, frustrations, and food photos out into a sea of strangers. Her thumbs flew across her screen as she typed:
Why, why, WHY would anyone EVER think it’s okay to stick their disgusting feet in someone else’s face?! #outrage #WTF #badday
She hit post. Her rage slightly vented, she pocketed her phone and started searching the kitchen for something to eat. She popped a frozen burrito into the microwave and as the thirty microwave seconds dragged by, she made her next mistake. She withdrew her phone and opened the ChirpChat app.
Someone had replied to her chirp. She was expecting it to be someone asking what had happened or making some witty remark that would brighten her day. In expecting this, she forgot the very nature of ChirpChat.
The reply read:
Some people have foot conditions that require them to stick their feet in their podiatrist’s face for exams. Educate yourself before making harmful comments like this.
The microwave beeped.
Maria stared at the text for a long moment. Then she made her next mistake. She wrote a reply.
Okay, but unless you are at your podiatrist's office, you’d have to be some kind of psycho to stick your feet in someone else’s face, right?!
She snatched her burrito out of the beeping microwave and flopped down on the couch. She should have put on a movie or read a book but unfortunately her ChirpChat addiction got the better of her and she glanced at her phone once more.
The need for people to stick their feet in other people’s faces is more common than you think. Some people have had foot surgeries and require help disinfecting the wound. Some people have neurological conditions that require regular foot massage. Just because you personally don’t have a need to stick your feet in someone’s face, doesn’t mean there aren’t people in the world who do need to stick their feet in other people’s faces. You should be aware that your experience is not the same as everyone else’s and stop imposing your reality on people.
Before she had time to process what she had just read, another comment appeared.
One time, I was at the fair and I went on that spinning ride that makes you stick to the wall, you know? Well, the guy running it let too many people on and I flipped myself upside down but then couldn’t turn back around because it was so crowded and I ended up with my foot stuck against this one guy’s head. I guess what I am saying is that some people are forced to put their feet in other people’s faces and you shouldn’t judge them when you don’t know their situation.
The comments kept coming. Maria was amazed by the number of oddly specific situations that required someone to stick their feet in another’s face. She was also amazed by the number of people who were outraged on behalf of those in said situations.
She could not tear her eyes from her phone as the comments poured in. It was like she was suddenly the most hated person on all of ChirpChat.
Then finally, came the breaking point.
Do you realize that some people do not have feet—
Maria didn’t finish reading the chirp. An unusual calm came over her. She walked out onto her balcony and silently flung her phone over the railing. It sailed through the air before splashing down into the pool.
She smiled triumphantly. Things were looking up.
3 thoughts on “The Uncontroversial Controversy”
Powerful lesson you have taught here, thank you Katy. Rarely does anyone in life have ALL of the information. Grace and gratitude for what we do have goes a long way in battling comparison and judgement. Thank you for the reminder.
Katy, My son saw your subject line in my inbox. He asked to see it. We both doubled over in laughter with tears pouring down our faces. And guess what? Our feet were propped up on the table. No shoes. No socks. And not very clean.
That makes me so happy!! 😆