By Diane Peck, Columnist
-- I love the feel of fresh air, sunshine and the wind in my toes. And because we live in the land of short winters, I can hang ten on barely there footware, the flip flop, about 10 months of the year. I figure I've got about two more months of freedom of the feet left and I'm going to enjoy every toe-wiggling minute.
There's nothing I find more comforting than a good thong. That would be thongs for the feet, my friends. The idea of a thong north of the ankle freaks me out. Call me old-fashioned, I don't care. I'm not going there.
And I must be old-fashioned to so love a shoe design the ancient Egyptians wore upon their feet in those murals they were so fond of. Folks knew even way back then that a couple of straps hooked to some sort of pliable sole was almost as good as going barefoot.
Over the centuries, these early flip flops were made of a variety of natural materials like papyrus and palm leaves, rawhide, wood, rice straw, sisal and yucca plants.
Though the basic design was similar, the placement of the toe strap would vary from toe to toe in different cultures.
Called "zoris" at the time, flip flops migrated to America with our returning servicemen after World War II. They mostly were used poolside or in communal showers for protection against those pesky foot diseases.
Besides zoris, thongs and flip flops, they've been called slip slaps (which is actually closer to the sound they make!), toesies and jandals -- a combination of "Japan" and "sandal."
I may be putting my flip-flopped food in my mouth, extolling them so, since it's no secret flip flops aren't always the best thing for a foot's health and welfare - especially the cheap ones. (But then, cheap shoes of any style are bad for the feet.) There are 26 bones, 33 joints and a hundred muscles, ligaments and tendons in the foot -- all begging for mercy!
But luckily, not all flip flops are created equal. The American Podiatric Medical Association's seal of approval goes to several sandal companies who make better supporting flops, starting at around $40. (You won't be able to have as many, at that price, but the advantages are tremendous.)
Many manufacturers also are going greener, making flip flops out of more earth-friendly materials like recycled inner tubes and tires, hemp, cotton and coconut.
It's a good thing, since flops are so obviously here to stay. In the last 20 years, right along with jeans and t-shirts, flip flops have become a much loved staple of our more-casual-by-the-minute lives.
I even heard a car insurance ad on the radio the other day, promising coverage for any flip flop/gas pedal entanglements that could lead to car accident damages. The smooth-talking fellow in the ad reminded us that those cut-rate insurance companies might not be "on your side" after an apparent flip flop malfunction. Who knew -- an insurance company with a flip flop clause?
While I do so love flip flops for myself and others, I also firmly believe there should be some ground rules for proper wearage. First of all, there are no ugly flip flops -- just ugly feet. Keeping neat feet must be a priority, so, with a little style stealing from Dr. Seuss, let me just say:
A flip, a flop,
A flip, a flop,
Could I? Would I?
Wear flip flops?
I will shave the tops of all my toes,
And paint my nails in shades of rose,
No signs of fungi anywhere,
No corns or blisters will I bare,
My size, I will have long since found,
My heels they will not drag the ground,
The color of my flops will match,
The color of my outfits -- natch!
My almost naked feet shall be,
On proud display for all to see,
So, if you suffer creepy feet,
With toes more gnarly than they're neat,
The footware best for you to choose?
How 'bout some good ole socks and shoes.
Peace, love and flip flops!
Peck is a local mother and grandmother who works in Enid Public Schools. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org