One whiff and he knew the ‘pedes’ hadn’t seen the light of day. Neither had their leather companions. Jimmy cradled the kickers on his toweled lap and proceeded to transform them to a podiatrist’s dream. As he diligently set to work: scraping, scrubbing, disinfecting, and massaging the feet to something that would sweep one off their feet, he let out a satisfied sigh. After 45 minutes the cooing customer shoved a bankroll into his manicured hands with a satisfied grin.
Jimmy was the best in the pedicure business, well worth the entire ‘slough’ he charged. Pouring a stiff brandy into his ritual noon cuppa, he reminisced of his arduous struggle to fame and fortune in a menial industry. Born into squalor and struggle Jimmy decided to stand on his own two feet and make a living by tending to the important yet neglected vertebrate of the human anatomy. While other kids dragged their feet he was determined to make it big. The only way he could get a foot in the door was to train as a pedicurist cum masseur. Despite meager earnings and long hours on his feet Jimmy didn’t get cold feet.
He adored his job. He washed, polished and kneaded various parts of a foot: the toes, nails, ankles, arch, instep, heels, cuticles; while studying the various ailments that plagued that seemingly sturdy body part. Names like Athlete’s foot, flat feet, ingrown toenails, cracked heels, skin eczema intrigued him, so that he spared no expense to study them. He taught himself Oriental foot massage techniques of the Chinese and Indians to improvise it with modern science and used the latest foot products in his treatments.
Very soon, Jimmy’s growing book of appointments and a snaking queue of customers had him falling at his feet to have those hands ‘touch’ them! Within 5 years he owned his own salon aptly named ‘My Foot’ manned by a team of dedicated trainees and employees to take the load off his feet. Podiatrists in the city lost their patients to him. Other salons too had to either shut shop or take their biz elsewhere or lure customers with buy 1 get 2 free offers. Jimmy consumed the competition with his top of the line goods plus the best pedicure in town! He constantly ‘thought on his feet’ when faced with new dilemmas and in no time launched his own brand of footwear, foot care products as well as a range of other stuff for the feet.
At the age of 29 standing at a mere 5 ft, Jimmy was a millionaire in the foot industry. He had no time to put his feet up or let the grass grow under his feet. Being ‘footloose and fancy free’, his one regret was not feeling the sensation of playing football before raucous fans…he could never do so.
You see…Jimmy was born with a curious but rare condition called ‘Webbed feet’.
GAYATRI DAS is an Assamese in Hong Kong (SAR) who travels extensively, blogs about her sojourns in FERNWEH https://sojourntraveldiaries.wordpress.com and Vlogs her experiences on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/c/DasGayatri when she gets time off from her primary passion; teaching English.
She’s combined her love for both in an Ebook titled ‘Travel. Love. Eat & Repeat’ available on Kindle.