I am a freelancer in the publishing industry, so words are very important to me. I'm a leftist living in a world gone mad, so politics are very important to me. I'm an environmentalist living in a degrading world, so pick up your damn trash, get rid of your gas guzzlers, and don't touch ANWR, you self-absorbed capitalists!

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12 June 2007

Walking in My Own Footsteps

I have never been a sheep, to follow obediently in other people’s footsteps. In fact, I have a strong contrarian streak (you’re not surprised, I know).

Back in college, everybody was raving about this Irish band called U2 and their just-released album, The Joshua Tree. “Their songs are so poignant!” Hmmm, they seem a bit over the top to me. “But, the song ‘I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For’, doesn’t it call to you?” Nope. “Surely, you must feel something when you hear ‘With or Without You’?” What I feel is a heavy dose of angst.* “Exactly!” (And they’d wander off with a smile on their face, thinking they had won, while I chuckled to myself, knowing the truth.**)

There was also this band from Athens, Georgia (and their hometown was always spoken that way, “Athens, Georgia”—like maybe we’d be confused and think they meant Athens, Greece? And why didn’t anyone worry that we’d think they were from the Baltic state, eh?) People swooned. People carried on. People felt R.E.M.’s . . . angst. *Shudder*

I did finally come around. (After college.) Because both R.E.M. and U2 are talented, and write music that can be (yes) poignant. I just didn’t want to like them, simply because everybody else did. (Yes, I meant that comma in there.)

I’m thinking about this because there’s been this product that I’ve noticed people raving about lately. I would come across positive mentions online and in print magazines. (I don’t subscribe to any “women’s magazines”, but I’ll buy one every now and again [and I’m shocked every time at how little substance and how much advertising there is in one issue].) I’d assume that any product mention in an article has to be the result of product placement subsidies (for example, have you noticed how Real Simple magazine always seems to mention Carmex lip balm? Hmmmm? Both within the text of articles as well as in supposed “real-life” reader response sections?).

I did buy this product, mostly so I could confirm that it wasn’t any better than other varieties of this same product. And, I couldn’t imagine it would be worse than others, plus, I needed some of this kind of product anyway, so why not buy this brand this time.

I was wrong. Oh, so wrong. This stuff is as good as the articles say. I can’t believe how well it works. It’s opened up a whole new world to me. I find that I don’t hate this one part of me as much as I hated it before.

Surely you know what I’m talking about? Clearly, it could only be this:

Burt’s Bees Coconut Foot Crème. Oh, my goodness, my heels are sandal-worthy (not that they were cracked and yellow and gross [yeeeeesh!] before, mind you, they just weren’t ever this good).

I soaked my tootsies in warm water for 10 minutes, used the pumice stone, dried them, slathered on some of the crème, put on a pair of cotton sock, and went to bed. (About 2 hours later, I tore off the socks, because it’s early summer and I can’t sleep deeply with hot feet.) But the heels! They are perfect! And the soles, they are—what? Good? I don’t know what words one usually uses for feet, considering I don’t like to talk about feet or think about feet, even. But whatever word one uses to describe joy in one’s soles, that’s the one I’m looking for here.

Now, I guess I ought to try that Carmex stuff.

*I learned to hate the word “angst” and all it represented. So many young college philosophers would use “angst” to describe every single life experience—breaking up with someone, having to drop a class they were flunking, the cafeteria running out of tater tots on a weekend morning—that just hearing the word would induce the gag reflex and the rolling of the eyes reflex. Still today, if I say (for example) that someone is feeling angst-y, that’s a clue that I’m not feeling very sympathetic to their problem. Be warned.

**Did you read the *? Because if you did, you’d get the joke.