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It's all Cathy's fault - Denese Rodgers

When I was a little girl, I just loved to "pop" my knuckles. It makes such a satisfying "craaack" sound.

I could do it by bending one set of knuckles against the heel of my other hand, just like the tough guys did on television. All the little, old ladies at church used to "tsk, tsk" and tell me that it was going to make my knuckles big.

As a kid, I had this great mental picture of my little, itty-bitty self having big, ole, Popeye fists, somewhere in the future. Of course, it never happened.

S

o, applying the same theory -- I never knew that high heels could actually have a very real effect on my legs. I love high heels, and the flashier, the better.

One of my friends accuses me of needing batteries to power my shoes - and that I have drawers full of them.

Now, heels have historical significance, so to some degree, I am just following in the tilted footsteps of my forebears. According to Wikipedia, Catherine de Medici (1519-1589), was going to be wed to the powerful Duke of Orleans (later the King of France). She was real short (under five feet tall) and a tad on the homely side.

In a successful maneuver to wow the French people and overcompensate for her looks, she sashayed out in two-inch heels. The high heels gave her an alluring sway that captured the eye of the public, and high heels came to be associated with the privileged class.

I, too, am vertically challenged, so I have worn magni-heels since clogs in the 70s. I went through disco stilettos, pumps, espadrilles, Dr. Scholl's, and now, I love the "names" -- J. Renee, 9 West, Bandolino, Nina. Only I'd get shot for paying sticker price, so I use eBay to get my shoe fix.

The problem now is that I also like to run. Running and "hooker" shoes are not compatible. After 20-something years in my wonderful shoes, my Achilles tendons are a mess. Oh dear, I have Popeye legs, instead of Popeye arms.

I've been actively working to reverse this awful trend for the last six months, but it may take a bit longer to overcome the cultivation of two decades of calf-mismanagement.

And it is not like I can do this without getting noticed. If I walk in somewhere in flat shoes, the first comment I get is, "Gee -- you're short."

And then, inevitably, I have to explain that my wonder-shoes are in hibernation until I can get my legs rehabilitated. And I miss my foot-couture. I'm trying to find a nice happy medium; but it seems like all shoes look athletic, orthopedic, or naughty.

My problem is that I don't want to be caught dead in the first two, so I risk being wobbly and warped by insisting on wearing the others!

Jane Austen once said, "Vanity and pride are different things, though the words are often used synonymously. A person may be proud without being vain. Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves, vanity, to what we would have others think of us."

I think others may just have to get used to thinking of me as short. Maybe I can find some appropriately awesome flipflops.

Denese Rodgers is executive director of Connecting Henry, a social-services, networking, community organization in Henry County.