Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Facing Inward: My Life as a Pigeon Toed

Not Actually My Legs...

Growing up, I was always pretty seriously pigeon toed. This never particularly bothered me. In fact, I didn't even know it was a problem until my parents told me it was. I never even noticed, except for occasionally tripping over my own feet (my feet were also huge really early on - I grew into them and now they are a fairly normal size 11). I would eventually be mocked a fairly decent amount in my awkward years, first in the area of 7th and 8th grades - this was tough, there were girls present! - next would be high school. This was not as large a problem, as I discovered freedom in my all boy high school. Freedom from caring what anyone else thought. In a class of about 350, I had about three friends. This was due to a lot of reasons, one of which was that I lived pretty far from everyone else who attended this school, and another of which is that I went out of my way to be off-putting to others - this meant being mocked for my severe pigeon toed-ness was one of the least of my problems.

I do remember once when I was younger I went to the doctor and my parents tried to address the issue, and I remember the term "special shoes" being bandied about. Thankfully, this is all I remember about the situation. For whatever reason, it was never further addressed and my left and right feet remained on two o'clock and eleven o'clock, respectively.

It takes a great deal of effort to walk with my feet pointed straight forward, and sometimes I will do it for short periods of time, just to see what it's like to be normal. It is uncomfortable, and I have pretty balky joints (knees, wrists) to begin with (I swear I'm only 25). I've recently begun to wonder again what may have caused this, and if anything can be done. Is there actually a God, and is he as big of an asshole as I'd imagine he'd be if real? Of course not. Poor genetic material? Very possibly.
Looking at the causes, the following paragraph jumped out at me:

"The most common cause of pigeon toes in girls over 2 years old is a hip that turns in causing the thigh bone to twist. When the thigh bone twists, the knees and toes point in. Children with a twisted thigh bone often sit with their legs crossed. The best way to treat this is to have the child sit in a chair with their legs uncrossed. Often this cannot be done until they are school age. This condition usually clears up by itself, but it may take 1 to 3 years for the thigh bone to straighten. "

This actually sounded kind of dead on - I always sit with my legs crossed. In fact, I've mastered the art of not hurting my nuts when I do it!

Wait.a.minute. "girls over 2 years " Ruh.Roh. This can't be right, can it? At first glance, this is pretty disheartening. I've been a chick this whole time. Damn me and my twisted lady thigh bone! But after a few hours of quiet reflection, I'm more disappointed at missed opportunities. I didn't have the internet when I was younger, so none of this information was available to me - do they have a real, paper encyclopedia entry for "pigeon toed" ? Anyway, All this time spent in schools I hated, sitting there cross legged and awkward, I could have told the teacher I was having feminine problems and asked to be excused. I could have presented medical documents about my in-toeing. Gone and sat in a special chair somewhere quiet and taken in a nice read.

I just reread those last few sentences and yep - turns out I'm a chick.

And now in honor of the shoes I never got to correct my goofy looking problem, here are the lyrics to The Mountain Goats' "Billy The Kid's Dream of Magic Shoes":

Hang me out to dry.
They're gonna hang me out to dry.
I don't really care.
I don't really care.
I got special shoes.
I got special shoes.
They're gonna fill me full of holes.
They're gonna fill me full of holes.
I don't give a rat's ass.
I don't give a rat's ass you rotten bastards.
I got special shoes on.
I got special shoes on.

Which leads me to the video from their latest album, Hectic Pride
The song is Sax Rohmer #1

If you don't like this song you're probably a pigeon toed weirdo

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