August 8, 2011

Lessons From Stinky Socks (Day 17 - August 8, 2011)

Here I sit barefoot in my tent.  Where are my socks?  Getting a much needed breath of fresh air.  My shoes, too, are sunning themselves at this very moment.  Why?  Because I couldn't stand the smell of them.  Try as I might, I could never get them more than about 6' away from my nose as long as they were on my feet.  As it became apparent that there wasn't enough space for both me and my socks in the tent . . . the socks got the ol' heave ho.

Hold your breath!!
The strange thing is that it didn't take my socks very long to become "malodorous".  They were fresh yesterday, and usually it takes at least a couple of active days to gain this level of stink.  Lucky me, I have over-achieving footwear!  Granted, I did walk quite a bit yesterday . . . to and from church in the morning and I lead both services (which means that I usually sweat quite a bit because of the extra layers provided by my vestments) . . . then a walk to the dog park . . . and a little bit of strolling around the neighbourhood.   Or, it could be that my shoes are the culprit, needing a good airing out while allowing the sun a shot at killing the 'stink-iola' bacteria.  Unfortunately, my other pair of socks are dirty having been worn for the four days prior to yesterday. (Note to self . . . gotta get out the laundry stone and clean some clothes.)

As I sit here, I realize that my stinky socks can teach us some lessons:
  • It sucks not having socks.  Socks provide warmth and protection.  My tootsies are getting cold!  While socks are not needed in areas of the world where it is hot all the time, the Canadian Rockies (. . . and the streets of Calgary or Toronto or London or New York or . . . ) are not one of them.  Socks have a tough job.  They hug your feet while soaking up sweat and constantly rubbing against other objects.  In other words, socks sacrifice a lot in order to provide us that warmth and protection.  Kind of like parents do for their kids. (Yes, parents of mine, I just compared you to my dirty socks . . . in a good way though!)

  • Socks, and all footwear, are vital to our well being.  I can tell you that if I had to walk around barefoot all the time, my standard of living would take a nosedive.  That reminds me of one of my times in Sierra Leone, West Africa.  I was staying at a centre housing former child soldiers (where they were loved, cared for, counselled, and prepared to return to the society from which they were abducted).  The question I was asked the most was . . . "Can I have your shoes?"  I wasn't being asked because my shoes were wonderful but rather because those asking didn't have any themselves.

  • Socks are a privilege.  We aren't born with socks on our feet.  We need to make them or buy them.  In order to acquire socks, one must have resources to spend on socks.  For those lacking resources and who need socks, this then enters into a priority assessment before they can get socks.  Socks or food?  Socks or shelter?  Socks or medicine? Socks or school?  I think that a person living in poverty in the developing world would choose food, shelter and medicine as a priority for use of their resources before acquiring socks.  However, that same person might have a dilemma on their hands if deciding between socks or school . . . if that was the choice they needed to make.  Ultimately, I would hope that school wins out, but given the day to day immediate benefit of socks . . . ?  I, too, have only limited resources at my disposal right now, and so I am caring for my two pairs of socks better than I have EVER imagined that I would.
Well socks, smelly or not, here I come!  The needs of my feet are outweighing the needs of my nose, and so it is time to put those lovely, precious, selfless socks back to work.

By the way, if you haven't already checked out the two videos I blogged about earlier today, then please do so . . . they're well worth the time (one is 3 1/2 minutes and the other is just under 20 minutes).  The following are the links to the blogs:

Hey!!  I'm That Poverty Guy . . . let's make a world of difference together.

Click Here for WACHOOKANDU.

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