Thursday, 10 December 2009

Last Christmas: A Real Stocking-Filler

I wish I’d still got all those deformed feet my uncle Robert used to send me for Christmas. I’d get a foot a year - one every Christmas: real ‘stocking-fillers’. My uncle was an orthopedic shoemaker; he’d gift-wrap and post any amount of lasts and casts to a vast amount of fiends and relations (many overseas). The foot would always come accompanied by a pen (Parker or Papermate). The idea was to use the last as a paperweight cum penholder: the pen standing in the hole where the leg-bone should be.

My parents would unwrap theirs, pull out the pen and throw their feet onto the fire - they'd go straight back up the chimney - making up for the lack of a Yuletide log. The lasts were made of wood in those days, but later they were made out of shiny bright plastic-resin, rendering them indestructible. Once, on Boxing Day, I left my foot (a child’s foot) out in the front garden on a writing desk – complete with pen (put it in context – illustrated its use): but nobody took it (took to the foot). On the twelfth day of Christmas, when we took the decorations down, I had to bring it in again.

By my late teens I’d accumulated a shoe-wrack of bad feet, and at a time when I should have been out pulling girls, I bought a drill, stayed in and screwed my feet to the ceiling.

I even invented a name for what I was doing: Last-Lunging. So called because I’d make desperate lunge-like swings from last to last; hand to foot. My brother Alex, couldn’t bear to watch; although he was happy to answer the phone (when I was ‘last-engaged’), inform the caller I was last busy last-lunging, and that I’d call them back.

One side-affect of lunging for lasts - more a bottom affect really - and one not experienced when hand-jamming, head-jamming or even during one-arm-one-finger-pull-ups: reaching for your toes, and touching your toes, makes your pants ride-up.

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