Tuesday, July 24, 2012

still-sound 87. Augur

Last week I met an old college friend for a drink.  Dan was without a car that night so I drove him home.  As we made our way east on Sunset approaching Alvarado, we passed a sign for a Foot Doctor's practice.  I pass this sign nearly every day and barely notice it.  It revolves and on one side shows a sickly foot on crutches.  It has blood shot eyes and a bandaged toe.  On the other side, a healthy, smiling foot beams. 

Dan asked if I knew about the Foot Sign's ability to predict the future.

Obviously I required more information.

"If you pass the sign when it's the good foot, you're supposed to have a good day.  And if you pass the bad foot you'll have a bad day.  It's a known thing in Los Angeles.  David Foster Wallace and Jonathan Lethem have both mentioned it in novels."*

As interesting as this was, I had immediately wished that Dan hadn't relayed this information.  Being superstitious, I knew that I would come to fear the Foot Sign.  When I passed it the following morning on my way to the ceramics studio, the good foot gave me its blessing.  My day transpired to be fine.  Not especially good but certainly not bad either.  When I passed the bad foot on Friday morning on my way to work, I felt its curse entering my being like a disease.  I took steps to ward off bad fortune.  I drove extra carefully.  I maintained a positive outlook. 

At work I told my colleagues of the Foot Prophet.  I explained how that morning's omen made me feel uneasy.  My friend Andrea tried to talk sense.  "How can a foot tell the future?  It's not even a real foot."  She was right of course.

I observed and measured my fortunes throughout the day.  By nightfall I decided that the day had been fine.  Not especially good but certainly not bad either.**

* Dan later told me the titles of these book: Pale Kings by David Foster Wallace and You Don't Love Me Yet by Jonathan Lethem.
**My friend Kathy, a native Angeleno, read this blog post and informed me that the original version of the Foot Sign was actually bright pink, in the shape of a foot, much cruder in design and consequently even more disturbing.


  1. I knew about the Foot Sign oracle, but I think I read about it in an interview with Beck. The foot in the sign looks a little like a baseball mitt. Fitting since the clinic is near to Dodger Stadium.

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