I had the cruelest nickname as a child. It is unbelievable how human beings can be so horrible to one another, how people can actually open their mouths and speak a moniker of such hatefulness. My nickname was Joey.
Right off the bat, all of the Joeys who are reading this may or may not feel my pain. It would be different if my name were, for some unknown reason, Joseph. Well, Josephine since even my parents aren’t cruel enough to name their first daughter Joseph. But read on and ease some of my agony.
My brothers were the ones to first christen me Joey. Bear in mind that these are the same heathens who tricked me into eating an inferno pepper from our garden. Please ask yourself why two fully grown college educated adults (my parents) would even grow such weapons of mouth destruction when they know that they have two sons under the age of eight and a smaller defenseless little girl, but that is sadly something that I haven’t had enough alcohol yet today to talk about.
You need to know why I was called Joey. So here it is…(deep breath)…because of my enormous feet. I’ll pause while you get tissues to carry you through the rest of this tale of woe. My brothers claimed that when I was born I looked like a baby kangaroo because of my freakishly large feet. No, please don’t feel my indignation, it isn’t necessary to kill them. I’m sure they’re sorry about it now.
The problem stems from the fact that I do have feet that are slightly on the large side. Nicknames and jokes are not funny when they’re true, a fact that men don’t seem to grasp as they will happily call one of their own brethren “Cyclops” if he only has one eye. Women just don’t do that to each other.
No, women try to be part of the solution, not part of the problem. MY girlfriends actually call me from the bathroom of department stores to tell me that the big shoes they keep in the back of the stockroom are out and on sale. They take on pimply-faced bowling alley attendants who try to prevent me from bowling because they don’t have shoes in my size. One lawyer friend of mine even went so far as to tell the hapless young man that he was in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act if he didn’t let me wear my own big shoes. I love my girls.
Every time I try to buy shoes, I shamefully imagine the other customers in the store gasping in horror as they see my feet, of salesmen running to their supervisors and quitting their jobs because “it just can’t be done, sir! I’m not a miracle worker, I’m a shoe salesman!” I’m certain children throughout the store can be heard whispering, “Joey! Joey! Joey!” under their breaths as I try to cram my hideous feet into yet another frightened pair of pumps.
I’ve learned to accept my feet for who they are and stop the torture. I started going to shoe stores and looking for the most comfortable, orthopedic-looking shoes I could find. Eventually I just started sticking my head in the door to these establishments and asking if any nuns shop there. If the answer is yes, I will probably find something to fit. They can’t kick you out of the nun-hood just because your feet are too big to wear those giant boat-shaped shoes even the small-footed nuns seem to prefer.
But on a recent shopping trip, one in which I wasn’t even looking for shoes because I hadn’t taken my medication yet, I saw the most amazing sight. It was a high display pedestal, towering above all of the other lowly shoes, one situated under an intense spotlight to best highlight this shoe’s grandeur and gloss. It may have been the very light of God beaming down on this blood-red stiletto pump of mammoth proportions. I immediately grabbed the young salesman by the sleeve.
“Young man,” I breathed, “how is it that this huge shoe rests in the place of honor amongst all this footwear?” Tears pooled in the corners of my eyes.
“We just picked the biggest one we had so customers could see it from across the store,” he shrugged. I now wear my favorite large blood-red pumps everywhere, even on a Saturday morning trip to Walmart to buy milk and dog food while wearing my ugliest sweatpants. After I got that young man’s blood off the heel from where I accidentally embedded it in his skull, that is. Take that, Joey.