Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Just Scraping By

by Christian Walters

I'm a fan of capitalism. Ask anyone about me, and they'll say, "Wow, that guy is sexier than Justin Timberlake in a hetero suit," followed quickly by "and he's clearly into capitalism, which is totally hot." Guilty as charged. But when faced with some of our modern purchasing options, I wonder if capitalism needs an image makeover. Maybe a spokesmodel, unless Paris Hilton already is one.

I was wondering about capitalism again as I was in line at Fry's holding a PedEgg. For those of you who don't watch late-night TV, a PedEgg is supposed to help you remove calluses and other horrific deformities from the bottom of your feet. I suffer from some calluses just below the balls of my feet that are severe enough to make me think I'm walking uphill all the time, so I might be in the target demographic. Plus... you know... capitalism.

The implement.

So I found myself clutching this thing as I walked uphill to the register. Either it worked and the nightmare would end, or it didn't and I would get a scathing article out of it until I passed out from the blood loss.

Let's go claim-by-claim from the website:

Claim #1: PedEgg gently removes calluses and dead skin from your feet.

Fact #1: It's obvious even without opening the package that it'll remove skin from your feet, or any other body part or pet you care to work over. Extreme Preventative Exfoliation. The PedEgg is basically a cheese grater, so it'll remove lots. But I shake my head sadly at the word "gently." Again, cheese grater. With an Emory board attachment.

This thing is not gentle. Not if you want to spend less than 30 minutes per callous. A little elbow grease speeds things up, which is okay because a callous doesn't have nerve endings. The problem is this: PedEgging without scraping against live skin is like brushing a single bicuspid with a toothbrush. Eventually, something else is gonna get touched. I might be alone in this, but the bottom of my feet is my second most sensitive area. (Someone else will have to review the Ronco Nut'N'Pummel.)

If you don't rub hard enough to reduce your shoe size, then you are discovering what erosion is like to a piece of granite. It might be gentle enough if you're an Olympic firewalker. For the rest of us, it's a teeth-gritting path to removing calluses in a haze of blood and giggling (it tickles!). You know what giggling through clenched teeth looks like? There's no coming back from that.

Claim #2: PedEgg gives your feet an incredible baby-soft look...

Fact #2: If your baby has this much scar tissue, you're parenting incorrectly. You're going to be on CNN.

I don't have a baby, so I don't have a lot of direct experience with that baby-soft look. The last time I sandpapered my niece, she looked a little red and puffy, which I guess is like a baby. But I think babies don't get that look by ablating any imperfections with a huggable Brillo pad.

However, this does come with an Emory board to help you finish it off. I managed to buff my foot down to a shine, remaining callous and all. Impressive, yes. Baby-like, no. If a foot you can see your reflection in is a goal, you are at the end of the rainbow.

Claim #3: ...that everyone loves.

Fact #3: I would be despondent to learn that "everyone" would love it if I used this thing as instructed. I hope I don't have that many enemies. Sure, Martin Sheen has that blood oath to collect on. And I was completely wrong to leave that thing under the seat before dropping my car off at the car wash, so I understand that guy's feelings. But everyone?

But even if the PedEgg worked, no one is going to admit they love the look of baby skin. There are sick people out there, you gotta watch what you say. Also, blind people with foot fetishes would all think they were shrunk really tiny and got put in a hospital nursery. I can't do that to them, after everything I've put them through.

Overall recommendation: If you have problem calluses, spend a couple of weeks working lotion into them morning and night. It's easier to wash out of your socks than cartilage and bone fragments, and you'll smell more like a pine tree, less like a Dexter-themed costume party.

Christian Walters lives, loves, and drives in the Atlanta area. He's a technical writer by training, and a Rock Band Adonis by nature. He has honed his reviewing skills on bad movies, which are as rare as pollen grains these days. He has always been a fan of science, and has studied it as much as he could by flinging a Frisbee around campus while getting a liberal arts degree.

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