Several months ago, I purchased a pair of Vibram Five Fingers shoes. In case you haven’t seen them, they are pictured here (made even more obnoxious by the addition of striped socks – I am on a mission to find more toed socks today as all the toed socks I own are some variation of stripes or hearts). I personally find these shoes to be the most comfortable pair I own; it feels like walking around in your socks all day. I’ve had a really bad case of plantar fasciitis among all of the other issues my feet have had from birth, and, rather counterintuitively, walking and running in these shoes or barefoot is helping tremendously. However, I do not recommend these shoes to anyone without a healthy sense of humor and at least a small dose of confidence, for you will be mocked.
My Five Fingers have been conversation starters as well as the butt of many jokes around the office (I now wave goodbye to my office roommate with my toes whenever I’m wearing them) and various checkout lines. I have adopted a new motto regarding my footwear, though: Blessed are you who are mocked for your choice in shoes, for your feet shall not ache nor blister. Perhaps slightly sacrilegious, but true in my case. I tend to forget what they look like, so I forget that other people might be surprised by my footwear.
So, last weekend while I was waiting for a pickup order at a steakhouse restaurant, I was not surprised to see someone glaring with disapproval and horror at the outline of my toes. What made this situation downright hilarious was the disgusted woman’s attire: plaid pajama pants, hooded sweatshirt, and FUZZY PINK FLIP FLOP SLIPPERS! I barely avoided snorting with laughter when I caught her looking at my shoes because I thought, “At least I have on real pants,” and then, “Pot, meet kettle.”
That moment has made me laugh all week, but it also made me think about how many times we do that on a daily basis. How often do I disdain someone in spite of all of my foibles and imperfections? I honestly try not to criticize someone else without considering my faults first. I suppose I have this cartoon-like image of myself with a plank in my eye holding tweezers to someone else’s eye. I don’t always succeed at thinking before critiquing, and I know I fail most often with my husband and my family. But the look on that woman’s face coupled with her similarly ridiculous choice in footwear demonstrated the absurdity of passing judgment on others. It appears that we’re all just a bunch of pots calling kettles black.