Thursday, April 16, 2009

Your Feet Smell Like Fish

     Sometimes people are stupid. And sometimes we worry about the wrong things; like our priorities are in the wrong place. And sometimes the government takes itself a little too seriously. And sometimes all of these things come together in like a perfect storm of pure ridiculousness that will literally make your brain leak out of your ear. So you'd better make sure that you have a cup or some paper towels or something nearby, because this is going to be one of those times. And it's all going to start when you read this next sentence: The State of Wisconsin is currently deciding whether or not to allow a recently opened fish pedicure parlor in suburban Milwaukee to continue to operate.
     I sort of feel like a spaceman in a bad 60s movie that is fighting a giant green blob on some obscure, rocky planet that somehow has a breathable atmosphere in that I am not exactly sure how to successfully attack this thing. Like, I could poke it with a stick repeatedly but it would just sink in. I could shoot it with bullets but they would die on the way through and do no real damage like they were going through ballistics gel or something. So I've decided that I am just going to go at it in order. Ready?
      Sometimes people are stupid. Well all know this. You've done stupid things. I've done stupid things. The Unpaid Interns have done stupid things. We all have. So I am not sure why I am so surprised and dismayed that people are letting fish suck on their feet. Here's the deal: A new salon has opened up in suburban Milwaukee where, for a scant $35 you can get a fish pedicure. Now, the fish aren't going to sit there and file your nails and paint then and all that jazz. But what they will do when you stick your feet in the fish-filled tub at the foot of your snazzy chair is suck on your feet like they are in a fetish movie or something. Dozens and dozens of these special garra rufa fish imported from China and Malaysia will take thousands of tiny bites of tough, calloused skin of your gross, nasty sailor feet for 15 minutes causing your feet to feel soft and smooth.
     And people are doing it. In fact, people are driving from the farthest reaches of the galaxy to do it. Okay, that was a bit of an exaggeration. But one of the clients in there on the day the reporter who wrote the article I read was in there drove from about an hour away. But most of the people gathered around the storefront in the mall were basically just curious as to what was going on, afraid to take their shoes off and give it a whirl. Which is smart. Because I wouldn't put my feet in there. Nuh uh. No way no how. Because I know absolutely nothing about garra rufa fish and what they are capable of. The only stories I ever hear involving fish and feet are when people stick their toes in the Amazon and a horde of pirhannas come and strip their toes down to the bone. Yeah, I don't want that at all. So I'd be sitting in the chair at the place with my feet in the tub hoping that no one I know sees me and thinking about the fish devouring my feet and my blood pressure would be about 265 over 180. Who discovered this anyway? What Chinese man was lying around in the Yangtze and was like "Man, these fish biting me all the time are annoying as hell but they make the skin on my back smooth. I bet they would work wonders on my feet!" Except he would be thinking that in Chinese I would assume. Or maybe Italian if he was Marco Polo. But anyway, how was this discovered? I know that many times these fish are used to help cure and relieve suffering from skin diseases, but egotistical prick decided to start using them for their feet?
      Sometimes people worry about the wrong things. And the guy who decided to start using fish to make his feet smoother is definitely worry about the wrong things. Or he's just a genius who is making a PILE off the rest of us worrying about the wrong things. Either way, this is a great example of people with too much money to burn and too much time on their hands. Because I don't know about you, Company, but I don't really have a whole lot of time to sit around looking at my feet. And really have a lot less time worrying about how smooth they are. In fact, I usually go the other way. See, in my mind your feet should be tough and strong because you walk on them all day long. And I actually walk barefoot a lot in the summer so the tougher and dirtier my feet are the happier I probably am. In fact, I wear it like a badge of honor sometimes.
     Now, you are going to get some people who are on their feet all day long: delivery drivers, mailmen, shoe testers, nurses, etc. that are going to say that the fish gnawing on their feet feels like thousands of little pinpricks and that it feels good on their tired and heavily used feet. Fine, I can maybe buy that. I mean, people do acupuncture, right? But for the typical desperate housewife or Office Space cubicle monkey that doesn't really fly, no matter HOW much time you spend in high heels. You've got to have a pretty good excuse to get out of being vain as far as I am concerned. Even if it's made up. Tell me that you are a foot model. Tell me that your wife has a foot fetish. Tell me that you are an acrobat and lots of people handle your tootsies as they throw you up in the air, I don't care. Just make something up. Because I don't want to think that you are egotistical when it comes to your feet. Oy maybe just come clean and say "Hey, I like to have soft feet." and that's fine. I will at least respect you for owning up and admitting it.
     The government takes itself a little too seriously. If this were a soap opera, right now there would be some sort of dramatic music, and an actor or actress who just said some dramatic line would be giving some dramatic start at someone just off to the left of the camera. Or some actor or actress who just got called out on something or just got bad news would be staring painfully at someone or something just off to the right of the camera. And then we would cut to commercial. Because this is where the danger comes in. And it comes in the form of the Wisconsin Department of Regulation & Licensing. Shop (or boutique, please excuse me) owner Gerald Williamson notes in the article that it makes him nervous every time that the phone rings because it might be the State calling with their decision about whether or not to allow the place to remain open. Wait, what? That's right, Gerald and his fish are under the gun, directly in the sights of the bureaucracy. The DRL is trying to decide if the fish pedicure business is one that needs to be regulated, or is even able to be regulated and licensed. I am thinking though that this is horseshit. Of course it's able to be regulated or licensed, and if anyone is going to figure it out it's the boys and girls with the state. I mean, why not license it like any other business using animals for human gain, like riding stables or petting zoos or whatever. Of course they can license and regulate it. If they call you and tell you that they can't, Gerald, then they are lying and they just don't want it around, okay? That's the bottom line. Some states have outlawed them completely, which is a form of regulation. So for now the State is dragging its feet (as usual) and the people and fish affected are living in anxiety. And so the world continues to turn. Maybe Gerald should get a fish pedicure and relax himself, how does that sound?

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