Since I am an involuntarily converted southpaw, I have a pretty good idea of what southpaws have to endure for being "out of step."
For example, in my earlier years, the only reliable way I could be sure which side was left and which was right was to wear a wristwatch, since I knew almost everybody wears them on the left.
I also learned that everybody knows that lefthanders are jinxed; they’re unlucky, they’re always out of step, and so on and so on – including the fact that the Latin word for Left is “sinister," which only means more problems, but that’s for hands, and we’re going to be looking at feet for a couple of minutes.
Have you considered yours – given them anything but a passing thought?
Do you know whether you’re Rightfooted, or Left-footed – and does it really matter?
Well, if that’s you, yes, it certainly does.
Who wants to walk around with one shoe that pinches your toes because it’s too tight and the other that sorta flops around and makes you trip over stuff because it’s too big?
Naturally, you’re not too crazy about the situation because life is already complicated enough without having to worry about feet, for Pete’s sake! But if that’s you, this must be dealt with, and there aren’t many choices – two, to be exact.
First, though, you have to find out which is which, and we can clear that up for you right now.
It’s easy enough, so we’ll start at the beginning.
Sooner or later in life, some of us realize that one foot is bigger than the other, and if the big one is on the right, that makes you right-footed – and vice versa; big left foot – you’re left-footed.
If you buy only custom-made shoes, there’s no problem, since you’re paying a pretty price for those shoes and variations ought to be included.
However, if you buy your shoes "off the rack," you‘re coping with mass-produced, average-size shoes constructed on a “standard last”, and you get both shoes exactly the same, except for left and right, of course.
Now enters the "rightfooted" and the "leftfooted" dilemma.
Either way, you’re stuck with one bigger foot and one smaller. Not by much, mind you, but now you’re faced with the decision; do you buy the bigger size shoe and try to fill the other one with two or three sweat socks until it fits? The same goes for insoles, or do you look around for someone else who has the same problem, except in reverse?
If you’re lucky enough to find someone like that, then you team up and buy one pair of bigger shoes and one pair of the smaller, then each person takes one of each, and everybody’s happy. (Let’s hope you both wanted black oxfords or brown loafers.)
Okay, now that you have shoes that fit, you can join the parade and march – if you’ve got things right - because sooner or later, everybody has to march.
When you do, the Drill Sergeant will demand that you do things his way and start off with your right foot, and heaven help you if you get it wrong, because endless KP duty awaits those who get it wrong.
(The army is very good at finding something for you to do, and there’s no sense in aggravating the situation, so you’d better make up your mind which foot is left and which is right and save yourself a lot of potato peeling.)
If you happen to be one of those civilian types, you won’t need to worry much about marching, but you definitely will still have to cope with one foot being larger than the other.
As we have mentioned, this usually isn’t much of a problem unless that bigger foot is a whole lot bigger, and since you don’t look forward to a life of people staring at you in a circus sideshow, you’ll have to explore other possibilities.
But cheer up. All is not lost.
There’s still one career avenue that’s almost wide open to you and your foot.
(Have you noticed that we have refrained from referring to you as Bigfoot? You’re welcome.)
All you need do is practice, practice, practice, because the National Football League is always looking for experienced kickers, and the pay is above average, too.
Give it a whirl.
As professional kicker (for four NFL teams) Garo Ypremian once described his job, “Keek ball, get money.”
See? Your foot could make you rich and famous!
— Newton columnist Mike Morton writes weekly for the Kansan. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org