Barefoot into the World I Came
Removing Inhibitions and Shoes in the Arb
by Lisa Bean
Utensils, computers, cars,
telephones, car telephones: aside
from being convenient and
arguably necessary, these
artifacts symbolize modern
human interaction. Strangers
avoid eye contact; acquaintances
mumble "Fine. How are you?"
without listening to the reply;
people spend lonely and pathetic
hours watching MTV's
But don't get so depressed by
all this that you'd rather jump off
the Bell Tower than read the next
sentence. There is a way out of
this modern American existential
hell, and it's right in front of your
realize it at the time, but the
combination of the pain and their
good intentions (and did I mention
the pain?) led you - in amateur
psychobabble - to internalize
the experience and project it into
the way you experience the
world. You learned to play it safe:
wear shoes and watch "Leave it
And maybe you could have
escaped this incident without
damage, but when you were
seven, you stepped in a pile of dog
shit on the way to the pool in
Florida and your parents were so
embarrassed and disgusted that
they hosed you off in the,
backyard and never told your
grandma why you didn't go
library. Fill the backpack with
the essentials: fruit, blanket,
container of water and your
And, just in case somewhere in
this gloomy analysis of American
society you lost the point, don't
forget to take off your shoes. Don't
just clip those smelly loafers by
the tips of your fingers like a
couple of half-filled beer glasses
you clean off your coffee table the
morning after. Put them in your
bag, out of view so they won't
tempt you the moment you are
challenged. (While you should try
this unsupervised, The Daily does
not accept responsibility for
injuries, fatalities, or unwanted
One ideal place for your
number of ways to approach the
Arb - both the designated and
the forge-your-own variety - a
good place to remove your
physical, emotional and even
metaphysical shoes is on Geddes
just past Observatory. The
cement offers a solid beginning
of serious bacterial infection.
When you do finally put your
shoes back on, they should be
comfortable, but somehow
foreign. You'll have more control
- like you know you'll have to
wear them to get served in
McDonald's, but you don't really
Gears and Clogs (cover story)
Damaging socialization can be tempered with some
intensive foot psychotherapy. And fortunately, Ann
Arbor is an excellent place to start treatment.
Are ISA students all hippies? Are Engineers all nerds? No, of course not. But
where do we get such crazy ideas, and what the hell does that stupid cat inside
the box have to do with it? See Page 6.
The Healing Power of Art
Chalk another one up for old Michigan, whose hospital community enjoys a
state-of-the-art program which ranks with the very best.See Page 4
The Fortress Besieged
Essayist Tony Roque recalls a professor's tale. See Page &
Food for Thought
Weekend food columnist Dan Poux espouses the blessings of sideburns. er,
packed lunches. See Page 9.
and a smooth transition for those
who are strongly attached to
artificial ground cover.
As you approach the gate to
the Arb, you will encounter the
first phase of discomfort in
confronting your evil
socialization: several feet (the
word was unavoidable) of
similarly unavoidable medium-
sized pebbles. Use the
opportunity to slow down and
try out those Yoga breathing
exercises you never seem to have
Once inside the gate, you'll be
faced with a choice: a gravel road
or a winding wood-chip path. It's
very important to break free from
all societal rules, even the ones
subtly imposed by the structure
of the Arb itself. So, stretch your
arms out beyond the Robert
Frostesque two-path scenario,
and traverse the hills in whatever
direction your feet take you.
The number of things to do in
the Arb is limited only by your
imagination and inhibitions.
Some options: pet a dog, bring
a dog, act like a dog; spend the
day, week, month, year. Hike
through dark trails of uncertain
destination, listening to the entire
soundtrack of "The Doors" or
"The Muppet Movie." Join other
foot travelers in Ann Arbor's
Land of Oz.
Warning: never resist any urge
to hold hands with the grass,
need them. After enough sessions,
wearing shoes will feel like
spending eternity in a Meijer that
locks the bulk food containers.
There's no reason to limit
yourself to the Arb. The
University Botanical Gardens, a
few miles past North Campus,
offers a make-your-own-
adventure experience with three
grassy paths of varying length
that meet and diverge, and a small
clear stream you can wade
through. (Watch out for
rattlesnakes though. "They
Watch out for
won't kill ya', but they
c'n lay y'up in the
hospital pretty good,"
warned one gardener
won't kill ya', but they c'n lay
y'up in the hospital pretty good,"
warned one gardener.) For a small
fee, you can visit the greenhouse
of sensitive plants and other
Why stop with designated
locations? You can walk around
your house, the computing
center, the Diag - anywhere you
are when you need an emergency
So, don't let TV, coffee breaks,
alcohol, classes, car telephones
and whatever else you use
suppress your natural need to
grind dirt between your toes,
frolic over hills, or sing "The
Rainbow Connection" as loudly
as you can.
Spend a few hours a week
barefoot and you won't believe
the difference. Friends,
classmates, employers, professors
will just smile and say "Gee, you
just look so darn healthy." Your
work will improve, friendships
strengthen, you'll relate to people
better. Like a Dale Carnegie
course, but free.
Barefoot in the Arb
Shoes for industry.., bare feet for life. Lisa Bean explains how to reclaim your
humanity in the face of the omnipresent car telephone..See Page 10.
Weekend introduces two new cartoon strips - Benjamin Holcomb's "Roger's
Thesaurus" on page 8 and Josh Worth's "Tram to Nowhere" on page 12. And
beginning next week, "Nuts and Bolts" expands into Weekend..
Jonathan Chait and Craig Linne. Craig Linne and Jonathan Chait. Savor the
thought a little while and then read them. Pages 3 and 11, 11 and 3 respectively.
The Weekend List
Friday through Thursday, the List won't let you miss an event in Ann Arbor.
Cover illustration by Benjamin H-blcomb.
BNow" the televisioncommercial said,"People can ask Ang
Finally! This was the opportunity that I had been waiting fc
Lansbury in the past, particularly in her mystery series,
"Murder She Wrote." It took place in Cabot Cove, Maine, a
small New England town which had the highest murder
rate in the world. After a couple of years the entire popula-
tion had been killed off, and Angela had to take to the road,
visiting her several hundred nephews spread strategically
throughout the nation in order to find murder victims.
But even though I thoroughly enjoyed her role in this
series, there was still something missing, a gnawing gap in
my relationship with Angela Lansbury. I didn't know
exactly what that gap was, until I saw the commercial.
Then I knew. I had to ask Angela Lansbury about Bufferin.
So I tingled with excitement as I waited to see what
questions people had for her. Perhaps they would ask her to
describe her first experience with Bufferin, or ask what role,
if any, Bufferin plays in her sex life. Or maybe they would
be interested as to how she became a Bufferin authority. I mea
get up there on national T.V. and respond to all the concerns t-
about Bufferin. You have to know quite a.bit about the product
undergo a rigorous Bufferin training course.
But no, they didn't ask interesting questions like that. They
questions that had obviously been planted. So I decided to take
I decided to personally ask Angela Lansbury about Bufferin.
The first logical step was to call the Bufferin Hotline. (Som
am making this up, but I am not. The number is 1-800-468-77
asked me what I was up to, and I told him that I was going to c
and see if they would let me talk to Angela Lansbury. He look<
have too much free time, Jon.")
After dialing the Bufferin Hotline I was immediately able tc
highly trained professional Bufferin authorities:
"Hello, this is consumer information. How can I help you?"
"Yes, I hate a rather unusual request. I've seen the Bufferin comm
ask Angela Lansbury about Bufferin and, well, I'd like to talk to her j
"I'm sorry, but she isn't available. However, I would be happy to
might have about Bufferin."
"Well, no offense to you or anything, but she seems to beso knowlea
I'd prefer dealing with her."
"Sir, perhaps you can give your questions to me and we could try t
"No, I really need to deal with her personally."
Sure, I was bluffing. I didn't have any specific questions in
if I could get on with Angela, we could start off by discussing B
conversation rolling, and then maybe segue on to other topics.
"I'm sorry sir."
Clearly, the Bufferin Hotline lacked the answers I was look
was to write a letter to the corporation, explaining my predicarr
came - lost, no doubt, in the byzantine Bufferin bureaucracy.
I also tried calling her home, using the address a crack Daily
from The Address Book, but the London operator insisted that t
Lansbury there. Obviously the operator had been instructed n
to members of the general public, especially those who might 1
Bufferin. So the rhetoric about people being able to ask her ab
Or maybe it was something deeper than that. Maybe there'
Bufferin that Angela Lansbury doesn't want us to find out.
We can't dismiss such a possibility out of hand. I recall frorr
Angela Lansbury is a dangerous character. It's like she was Dir
habit of getting dead around her. Perhaps all those murder vict
by Angela herself, before they could uncover the truth about B
Or maybe she didn't kill them. Maybe she wants us to kno
Maybe she gave out just a little too much information about I
My God. No wonder I couldn't get through to her. She's be
by the Bufferin Corporation.
The commercial hasn't been on in a few months, and Murd
nothing but re-runs. Somebody is obviously afraid that she'll bli
I can't prove this, but we'll know for sure if CBS announces
perform her duties" on Murder She Wrote and has to be replace
Hey - maybe he can talk to me about Bufferin.
Jonathan Chait is an LS&A sophomore majonng in Comparitiv>
face. Actually, it's directly below
your face: your feet.
Remember when you were
five years old and you would run
around shoeless, happy and
oblivious to lurking dangers?
This waslabout the same time
you might go up to someone on
the street and ask what sex was.
And then one day you stepped on
a bee (if you didn't, pretend you
did, it helps the analogy). Your
whole family made a big deal out
of it, probably because you were
screaming your head off. After
plucking out the stinger, they
brought you inside and sat you
down in front of the TV.
Well, you probably didn't
swimming. So, you learned that
the dangers of shoelessness
extended beyond physical pain
and into the even more
frightening realm of humiliation.
But all this damaging
socialization can be tempered
with some intensive foot
psychotherapy: And fortunately,
Ann Arbor is an excellent place to
You'll need several
household/student type items to
aid you along the way. Bring a
backpack. Position it over both
shoulders. It will give you both
the sort of prepared-for-everthing,
swiss-army-knife feeling and aid
with the guilt of not being in the
sessions is in the Arb - that's the
Nichols Arboretum, the 123-acre
nature reserve and home of
lacebark pine of China and cedars
Don't let TV, coffee breaks, alcohol, classes, car
telephones and whatever else you use suppress
your natural need to grind dirt between your toes,
frolic over hills, or sing "The Rainbow Connection"
as loudly as you can.
Weekend Editor-Gil Renberg
Weekend Associate Editor-Jesse Walker
Editorial Assistants-Jonathan Chait, Matt Pulliam
Staff-Lisa Bean, Scott Chupack, Andrew Levy, Craig Linne, Dan Poux, Tony Roque
Special Sections Coordinator-Beth Halverson
Sales Manager-April Rassa
Assistant Sales Manager-Shannon Burke
Weekend is published by The Michigan Daily almost every Friday. Copyright 1991. All rights reserved and are now only
available from scalpers. Items for the Weekend List must be submitted at the latest by the Friday before publication. List
submissions and letters can be dropped off at the Daily or mailed to us at:
420 Maynard Street
Ann Arbor, M()48109
of Lebanon behind the University
Although there are unlimited
climb a tree, hug a tree, drink
water, or walk in water - but
realize you are doing so at the risk
September 20, 1991