Orthopaedic shoe inserts are potentially the biggest scam of the twenty-first century.
Introduced at the beginning of the new millennium and hailed as the western-world’s answer to childhood obesity, impotence, and red licorice, orthopaedic shoe inserts cost $4,000 each and can result in death.
You should not use orthopaedic shoe inserts if you are French or pregnant.
This is why:
In 2001, my highschool tragically lost two of my classmates on a Duke of Edinburgh hike at Crosslands. The group encountered a violent storm mid-hike and was forced to set up an emergency campsite in a nearby clearing. The wind grew strong and knocked over a tree which fell on top of one of the tents, crushing both girls who were sheltering inside and killing them instantly. I was at an orphanage in Thailand at the time, building dormitories and singing hymns with some Christian missionaries. I checked my email one night when we went into town and saw a note from one of my friends back home:
“Samantha and Tara died on duke of ed. I twisted my ankle. We got to stay home from school and eat tim tams. You’re gonna miss the funerals.”
I dealt with this in my usual way: almost entirely physically. I went to bed for three days and didn’t eat or shower or speak to anybody. After this, I was very sick for a week, and then by the time we got to Chiang Mai, I was somewhat okay.
When I returned to Sydney, most of the formalities were over. However, the faculty wanted to do something special to honour the memory of Samantha and Tara. During class one morning, my English teacher put out the call for ideas.
“What can we do that is special and will carry on here at the school, even after you guys have all graduated?” he asked.
“We could name one of the buildings after the girls,” one student suggested.
“We certainly could,” the teacher agreed, “Any more ideas?”
I raised my hand. “We could plant a tree? Like, in memory. One with strong roots, obviously…”
They went with the building idea.
And sometimes it’s better to let your co-workers think you are a victim of domestic abuse, because that is less embarrassing than the skanky, horrible truth.
I was sitting at my desk last Tuesday when I heard a crash and screaming. I jumped up and ran to the window, assuming one of the junkies that hang around Town Hall had lost their shit. Downstairs, outside McDonald’s on Park Street in Sydney’s CBD, a cab was half-sitting on the curb and a woman lay writhing on the ground, shouting incoherently.
“Fuck!” I said articulately and my co-worker ran to the window.
“There’s a cab up on the curb and a woman is screaming!” I explained.
“Hmm” my co-worker said and returned to his desk.
I stayed at the window and watched as the taxi driver got out of his car and walked awkwardly towards the woman he had just run over. I should go to her, I thought, I should help her. She needs me. But I was afraid of missing some of the action from my window seat. Besides, a group of people instantly flocked to the woman’s aid and whipped out their mobile phones. They cast hostile glances towards the taxi driver. Look what you’ve done, you arsehole, their eyes said. I was annoyed when enough people surrounded the lady as to partially obscure her from my vision, but I was glad that she had help. She had stopped screaming and was sitting on the ground, talking to those around her. The taxi driver moved his cab off the curb and leaned against a telegraph pole with his arms folded. There were at least ten people sitting with the lady, taking care of her. There was nothing for me to do. Except watch.
I ran to the fridge and grabbed my lunch, then dragged my chair over to the window and continued watching while I ate. An ambulance arrived a few minutes later and one of the paramedics attended to the lady. She used wild hand gestures to explain how the taxi had run over her. The taxi driver still stood with his arms folded. I began to feel jealous. This woman had just been through a traumatic and potentially life-threatening experience, but she seemed to be physically fine. Maybe a broken leg or something, but nothing too serious. And yet she was about to become a millionaire. A taxi driver who runs up the curb is going to get his pants sued off. Better, his company would have way more money than he would. And his company’s insurance company would have even MORE money. Money that would soon belong to the lady.
I had to take a phone call, then when I went back to the window, the ambulance and the run-over lady were gone, but the police had arrived and were taking statements from four of the witnesses. That should be me, I thought, I would have given a better statement than any of those jokers.
“Linda was really special,” I would have told the police, “I saw her give $5 to a homeless man right before it happened. Did you know she was a ballet dancer? Yeah, well, there goes that.”
Then I would go to the hospital to see Linda. I would explain how I had given such a great statement. A statement that would probably be used in court while determining the amount of compensation awarded to her. Linda would owe me.