( deekoo.net / fragments )

(In response to Jason Eisner's Advocacy round 74 challenge:

I usually go barefoot, but almost always wear gloves.
It's MUCH more important to cover hands than feet because ...

Please defend this proposition for all you're worth, as if you were a
Usenet crank.  Rationales and rants to [address no longer relevant]

As I am sure most of my readers are aware, extensive research has shown that the shape of the foot in modern man is an aberration caused to a large degree by footwear that makes the foot conform to its shape, rather than conforming to the shape of the foot. If you examine the skeleton of a modern man raised without the distorting encumbrance of this aberrant footgear, you will observe that the innermost metatarsal and tarsal form a straight line (discounting height variation such as the arch, ball, and joint.). You will also observe that the thumb-toe is not only the widest, but also usually the longest of the tarsals.

Yet, if you observe the stock in trade at any establishment which makes a significant fraction of its income from the purveying of shoes and related footgear for men, you will observe an overwhelming tendency for the longest portion of the shoe to be in front of the middle toe, with a gentle curve towards said longest portion beginning partway down where the middle toe should rest. You will also note that the footgear is abnormally narrow, preventing the spreading of the pedal surface that is natural in a nondistorted homo sapiens. These modifications are even more pronounced in the field of women's shoes, which are often sharply angled towards the middle toe, and also frequently feature an upraised or extended heel which keeps the wearer perpetually walking on tiptoe. Prolonged distortion of the natural pattern of growth can and does cause health problems; this is exemplified by the health conditions known as 'bunions' and 'corns', where the unnaturally compressed toes begin to cause pain.

The sexual dimorphism in footgear helps to demonstrate that these problems are in fact caused by the form of the footgear in common usage, and exacerbated by prolonged usage - apparogenic (apparel-caused) podiatric conditions are more common in women than in men, and more common in older populations than younger ones, a clear indicator that prolonged use has negative effects upon pedal musculoskeletal structure.

I trust this will be sufficient to explain why I, like all health-conscious individuals, eschew the use of such confining footwear. However, awareness of the importance of podiatric health is by no means the only example of health-consciousness in my life. As a matter of fact, it was at an early age that I came to be aware that very few of my fellow men (and women, for that matter), take adequate precautions against the spread of infectious diseases. The incidents which led to this recognition are far too numerous to properly treat in the space available in this posting, so I shall only tell of one of the most extreme examples. I once had the misfortune to make the acquaintance of a horrid and loose-moralled wretch by the name of Lucy Sebastian, disregarding the reasoned advice of my peers that I avoid her company. To my misfortune and the great detriment of my social life, I came to learn through personal experience that she considered deliberately infecting boys with disease organisms to be nothing more than a joke. More demoralizing was the fact that my peers proceeded to mock me for my infection. It was not until after a summer abroad at camp and the entrance of the sixth grade that I ceased to be taunted mercilessly about the 'cooties' she had given me.

The risks inherent in interpersonal interactions continue to be obvious to me in the maturity of my adult life. For example, I have found that, upon meeting strangers, the first impulse of many is to insist on shaking hands. This dangerous and unsanitary practice can spread many incapacitating disease organisms, depending on the hygienic practices (or lack thereof) of the individuals involved. When one meets a stranger, one has no way of knowing if they are infected with influenza, various gastrointestinal disturbances, ebola, or other horrid plagues.

This utterly casual attitude towards physical contact is exacerbated by the failure of my fellow men to take the most basic of precautions that could prevent them from spreading disease-causing microrganisms. For example, there exist numerous chemical solvents that will destroy all known bacteria and viruses reliably. Yet people allow the minor inconveniences associated with chemicals such as hydroflouric acid to prevent them from properly sterilizing their hands after performing such tasks as manual sexual stimulation, solid waste elimination, food preparation, or open-heart surgery, all of which may introduce microrganisms to the skin surface.

By wearing gloves at all times, I am able to take adequate precautions to sterilize the glove surfaces after any exposure to microrganisms, hence assuring that I, at least, will not contribute to the spread of disease-causing organisms.