I know I'm not a cynic because the strange-but-true news stories involving our species still sometimes shock me. Even after all these years, I rarely ho-hum something like this. Or this. Or, especially this.
So when I read the tale of Michael A. Brown I naturally had questions. You may know him better as "Man Arrested for Sucking Toes at North Carolina Walmart." Before I go much further, I'm fully aware his alleged actions constitute a crime and that he is a registered sex offender. Apparently Brown is a vile predator who forces his will upon others.
But his alleged crime aside, I honestly wondered about this individual's thought process --and don't tell me you didn't too. In case you're only interested in Crimea and other important news, here's a synopsis: Brown allegedly entered the store, posed as a podiatry student and got an unsuspecting woman to try on several pairs of shoes for "research." At some point while "assisting" her, he helped himself to a toe sandwich by shoving her foot in his mouth.
When she objected, Brown allegedly attempted to make amends by offering to buy the woman's groceries. No thanks, she said, I'll just call the cops. He had allegedly unsuccessfully used a similar ruse at another Walmart earlier in the day.
So many questions, but I'll just ask one. What the hell? Since I can't ask Brown, and because he will probably now actually keep his mouth closed, I have to turn somewhere for answers. I go where I almost always do -- to music:
Charlie Rich, "Behind Closed Doors" I'm not here to criticize anyone's bedroom pleasures, so long as they're practiced by consenting adults in glorious privacy. Makes no difference to me what someone lets you put in your mouth, so long as you have that adult's consent and I don't have to see it. If you want to suck the black Revlon nail enamel right off Sally Hansen's big toe, I have no problem with that, if Sally doesn't. That is, if Sally is a consenting adult and you're both not in plain sight.
As Charlie Rich sang long ago, "no one knows what goes on behind closed doors." That's right, Charlie. Why was this individual compelled to share his private obsession with Walmart's surveillance system and, therefore, all of humanity? You know, because the Internet. All I've got for an answer is he's a very sick person who needs psychiatric help.
Kia Shine feat. Yung Joc, "Club Walmart" I admit, I'm a bit of a snob about Walmart, meaning I avoid the place at all costs. So the very first question I had was why anyone, even a disturbed person, would look for strange toes to suck at a nasty-ass Walmart. Why not Target? Or maybe a classier joint, like Nordstrom? Had Brown never seen that People of Walmart blog? When's the last time you saw someone pushing a broom in that place?
According to this song, by Kia Shine and Yung Joc, I've got it all wrong. They liken the place to the hottest spot for heavenly hotties, not the ninth circle of hell as I typically imagine it. Maybe Brown took lyrics like "Ay, this place filled with college girls/ We gonna change the name/ Club Wally World" to heart. Or maybe he needs help from a psychiatric professional.
Story continues on the next page.
Ludacris, "Southern Hospitality" According to a Fox News "sexpert" (yes, you read that right; who knew?), Brown is probably not a classical fetishist. He may have a case of "classic partialism," which is a fancy way of saying that out of everything he sees on another person, all he really sees is one big foot. You can read more about it here, in the least sexy article ever written about sexual fetishes.
I think Ludacris may be music's biggest foot fetishist; he apparently has said as much. Even without an admission, all the clues are there in this one song. He's rapping about "pretty-ass toes," open-toe shoes, flip-flops and socks. I guess he couldn't rhyme anything with "Dr. Scholl's."
Maybe Brown was listening to this Luda song and got toe-sucking and "southern hospitality" all jumbled up. He may have thought he was being hospitable. Or maybe he's a sick person in need of psychiatric help.
Jack Johnson, "Bubble Toes" You didn't plan to escape this blog without one song about little piggies, did you? I could have gone with that Zac Brown song or Nipsey Hussle's "10 Toes." Maybe Diana Krall doing "Popsicle Toes." She's got nice feet. I wonder if Elvis Costello occasionally spit-shines her popsicle toes?
I digress. I chose Jack Johnson because he sings about feet "all covered in tar balls and scars" in this song. He's not romanticizing them at all. They're attached to a beauty in the song, but JJ never loses sight that they are functional tools we bipeds use to get around, in places where you have to do lots of walking or occasional running. Like a Walmart superstore.
Big, eyeball-sized, callused, hammer-toes with gnarly scars and fresh, oily tar balls clinging to them. It's safe to assume this song isn't on Brown's playlist.
Dirty Dozen Brass Band, "My Feet Can't Fail Me Now" Normally, assault survivors are anonymous, and for good reason. In this instance, the victim was identified and shared the story of her strangest shopping trip ever with her local TV news. It appears she's not going to step into the shoes of "victim." Kudos to her for not letting someone else hold power over her life.
I hope she uses that strength and spins this to her advantage in some way. I'm not an agent, I just play one on the Web; but if I were, we'd be looking for shoe endorsements and foot lotion commercials right now. When a creep acting like a podiatry student hands you lemons at a Walmart, make it rain lemonade, I say.
ROCKS OFF'S GREATEST HITS
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.