Sep 24 2014

Three years later

(Click for larger version.)

(Click for larger version.)

It’s hard not to feel bad for the subject of this doodle, drawn during a 2005 freshman composition class taught by Sheila Kelley. He looks to me like a guy who fights to survive in a cruel world. He doesn’t like to hurt people, but he rarely has a choice. That’s what you are seeing in his face. A sadness that drowns out nerve signals from a serious head wound.

OK, you are right, that interpretation is a bummer. To make it up to you, here is my favorite college essay, an ode to feet: (Note: It has been edited for clarity and to fix corrections suggested by my professor.) (Also note: I don’t have some foot fetish or something like that. I just needed to make an argument in a paper, and this one seemed like the most fun choice. Not that there is anything wrong with foot fetishists! Whatever floats your boat.)

Andy Reuter
November 25, 2002
Freshman Comp 1130
Sec 41
Dr. Mary Dalles
Paper # 4

“Feet are Useful”

Think about your day, from when you awoke this morning until you sat down to read this paper. (Hopefully you didn’t just wake up and are reading this paper in bed.) How often did you use your feet? Odds are, you answered, “A lot.” Yet how many times did you stop, take off your shoes, and give yourself a foot rub, or compliment your feet on a job well done? It probably was not nearly enough, and your feet deserve better than that. Without feet, life would not only be harder but also more boring and difficult to traverse.

The designs of our feet offer one advantage over being footless. The space the nub of a shin can offer just cannot compete with a broad footprint. For instance, the surfaces we would be able to traverse would lessen. Deep snow, floors with holes in them, and fragile inflated structures would become impossible to walk across. Of the remaining surfaces, traveling would be more difficult because a nub cannot provide the same amount of grip a foot can. Ice, wet floors, and sand would take much longer to walk across because of the care needed to do it safely. The time taken would also multiply because of the loss of a foot’s balance. Not only do feet provide a base upon which to stand, but they also contain ample room for all manner of bone and muscle to help keep you upright.

Another advantage lies in our feet’s versatility, which keeps life from getting boring and allows us to reinvent the way we live. For example, how interesting is a plain old end of a shin-bone? It’s not at all interesting when compared to the vibrance of painted toenails or the beauty of a pedicured foot. This attractiveness can also be enhanced by purchasing shoes designed for feet. This might seem like a burden, but in reality, it is the opposite. Buying shoes cultivates social interaction, boosts self-confidence, and helps the economy in ways that a shin-end shoe could not.

Because of the mobility only a shod foot can provide, things such as dancing can be experienced. Feet-intensive activities can unite generations and give them their own identity; they can provide unique social experiences, leading to life-long friendships and love; and they can provide a great alternative to alcohol or drugs. Can you imagine dancing, or even bowling, without your feet?

One of the most indirect yet important benefits of having feet are the jobs created by them. Without feet, what would pedicurists pedicure? They could always switch and become manicurists, but the influx of people into the profession would severely limit opportunities for jobs, creating unneeded stress and opportunities for exploitation in their field. The situation is even more desperate for cobblers, whose nontraditional mix of skills, including leather work and nailing, do not easily transfer to other careers. While they have a foot in the door (Future-Andy’s note: HA!) in many professions, the disadvantage of having this skill-medley would really hurt them in such a job market. Podiatrists, while having it the easiest because of the limited amount of schooling needed to switch medical specialties, would probably be the most hurt. In order to devote an entire life to feet, a love for feet would be a necessity. Being deprived of their lifelong passion could cause any number of problems, such as depression, alcoholism, and even excessive pie eating.

True, our feet are much less important to our survival today than compared with humans of the past. We have such inventions as prosthetic limbs, wheelchairs, and, to a limited extent, crutches, that our ancestors did not. However, our feet may have become even more necessary in every other respect in this day and age. They help us move around, keep us happy, and give our families food to eat. So, the next time you have an urge to say to a coworker, “My feet hurt terribly,” or “What ARE these things on the ends of my legs?” stop for a moment and think of all the reasons why you should appreciate your feet. Maybe then your feet will be able to appreciate you.

That essay was a blast to write. “Thanks for allowing yourself to have a good time on this one, Andy!” wrote my teacher. The paper also was a life-saver. The “A” I earned on it brought my final class score up to a C. (I was allergic to turning in assignments, turns out.)

The next semester’s freshman composition II course did not go so well. My professor was a jerk, so I let myself flunk the class out of principle. “I’ll worry about writing class later,” I told myself at the time.

Later was right! Two semesters later, I was banished from school. Adventures in bar tending, shelf stocking, machine operating and wood splitting filled my time. But three years later, I got back into school and completed my freshman composition journey. The above doodle was drawn during that very class.

With this post, I mark the end of another three-year journey, that of weekly Doodleronomy postings. Though I intend to continue publishing here, the frequency will decline. I want to work on other projects, and this eats up more time than you might think.

Before I go today, I would like to officially dedicate this blog to my teachers. Most were great. Some were jerks. But even the jerks offered lessons. (For example, what went wrong?)

As always, thanks for reading!

Sep 17 2014

The secretive grain market

(Click for larger version.)

(Click for larger version.)

You probably think grain is bought and sold in public at prices set by the free market. But no! Such transactions actually take place in the shadows at prices set by tradition and superstition.

Consider this history of modern art doodle. It depicts a Shemsworth Scale, the going method of determining grain prices. At the beginning of the market day, grain buyers weigh a nearby sea creature, in this case a shrimp, against a nearby inanimate object, in this case a desk globe. Whichever one is heavier is used to determine the 10-pence weight of one smallbarrow of grain. On occasion, barley traders like to send in a prankstrel, shown here balancing on the globe, to shift the balance in their favor.

This method might seem convoluted and primitive, but it is quite the improvement over the previous method of grainbuyers just stealing farmers’ crops and buying more paintings with it.


Sep 10 2014

The dream of the octopus

(Click for larger version.)

(Click for larger version.)

Elaborate doodles are rare in my high-school notebooks. (Though they aren’t completely absent.) Instead, the pages are filled by small, seemingly unrelated drawings, such as those found here.

I see four separate things going on:

  • At left is a sideways mineshaft.
  • At center is an octopus riding on an alien companion. He desires to be human. (He will change his mind once he realizes how cool it is to have eight arms.)
  • At bottom right is a mustachioed depiction of a high-school classmate. Christy was her name.
  • At top is a nomadic ladder. He wanders the desert, seeking out treasure that’s out of reach to the average adventurer.