Then why are they walking around in their bare feet like idiots?

Cidu Bill on Sep 18th 2017

poop.JPG

Filed in Arlo and Janis, Bill Bickel, CIDU, Jimmy Johnson, comic strips, comics, humor | 38 responses so far

38 Responses to “Then why are they walking around in their bare feet like idiots?”

  1. Olivier Sep 18th 2017 at 08:59 am 1

    From afar, at first glance, the grass looked so appealing…
    Just like this bit of smooth dirt : you discover it’s mud when you step on it : much too late (and in this instance, you regret not being barefoot, believe me : in the clay industry, we’ve all lost at least a shoe or a boot to the quarry).

  2. Ted from Ft. Laud Sep 18th 2017 at 10:18 am 2

    Some of us grew up being barefoot whenever we could - there were sometimes downsides, but you survived those. (And chicken poop does wash off, even easier than other things you could step in). This might have been a more southern/warm weather thing - but A&J are apparently lifelong Gulf Coast residents, so it might apply to them. (OTOH, southern grasses - especially the St. Augustine that is pretty ubiquitous down this far - often isn’t really wonderful to walk on barefoot. Very coarse, with lots of runners - not the soft, fine stuff I’ve encountered up “north”.)

  3. Tom K Sep 18th 2017 at 10:18 am 3

    ‘Cause they’re hippies.

  4. Kilby Sep 18th 2017 at 11:38 am 4

    Ted is right @2 that chicken refuse is not nearly as bad as what some other animals leave behind, particularly geese, and pigs, not to mention dogs.

  5. James Pollock Sep 18th 2017 at 11:53 am 5

    “A&J are apparently lifelong Gulf Coast residents”

    Mr. Johnson is deliberately vague about where A&J live. They’re within a few hours’ drive of the gulf, but far enough north to have snow regularly in the wintertime.

    I suspect he was told, around the time the strip started, that if he made it clear where they lived, newspapers in other regions would be less likely to buy it. So they live in Generic City, Anystate. Later on, once the strip was established, he put in more and more details that were based on his own experiences, and he, himself lives a few hours’ drive from the gulf, so it looked more and more like A&J lived a couple hours’ drive from the gulf. Then he talked a bit about how he was personally affected by hurricane Katrina, and the kids’ residency was much more definitively “regional”.

  6. B.A. Sep 18th 2017 at 02:03 pm 6

    If they think it’s perfectly normal to walk around barefoot, why is Janis acting as if chicken poop were landmines?

    Can I submit this whole sequence as a CIDU? Are we to understand that Gene and Mary Lou skinny-dip in the stream with alligators?

  7. James Pollock Sep 18th 2017 at 02:58 pm 7

    “If they think it’s perfectly normal to walk around barefoot, why is Janis acting as if chicken poop were landmines?”

    Because where they (perfectly normally) walk around barefoot, there aren’t any chickens pooping?

  8. Christine Sep 18th 2017 at 03:41 pm 8

    I didn’t understand how the question (”why are they walking around in their bare feet like idiots?”) made sense at first, but reading the comments I think I’m understanding a bit the mindset that makes that question make sense. Key difference in reading this: Janis isn’t saying “OMG, there’s chicken poop, we would need to wear shoes we lived here.” She just thinks that the fact that they’re going to need to clean their feet more than they normally would is a pain, and she wouldn’t want to do it every day.

  9. James Pollock Sep 18th 2017 at 03:51 pm 9

    “Are we to understand that Gene and Mary Lou skinny-dip in the stream with alligators?”

    Presumably, a different part of the stream with alligators, where there aren’t any alligators, or a different stream with no alligators, or maybe even in a lake or pond, and not a stream at all.
    Or possibly the skinny-dipping Gene and Mary-Lou were talking about was prospective rather than retrospective; those two are two busy, and already have too many children, to be hiking out into the wilderness to get naked. They do make time to get naked, (Gene is Arlo and Janis’ son, after all, and Mary Lou had a child at an early age) but they have to keep it quick and close to home.

  10. B.A. Sep 18th 2017 at 03:54 pm 10

    Where can they normally be walking around outside where there’s no danger of stepping in or on something worse than chicken poop?

    I’ve lived in cities, the boonies and in between, and I can’t think of anyplace I’ve lived where I would just walk outside in my bare feet (assuming getting something as harmless as chicken poop would bother me, which it would).

  11. B.A. Sep 18th 2017 at 04:03 pm 11

    James, the impression I got was this was the same stream where Mary Lou told Janis they skinny-dip (and is this the sort of thing you chat with your mother-in-law about? One of your friends, maybe, assuming Mary Lou has any, but your husband’s mother? That just seems ickier than chicken poop.

    Anyway, even if it’s a different body of water, if there are alligators in one, you can’t be certain about the others nearby. And I’ve read Peter Pan!

    (I do know there’s a difference between alligators and crocodiles, but that distinction only really matters to alligators, crocodiles, and herpetologists.)

  12. James Pollock Sep 18th 2017 at 04:20 pm 12

    “James, the impression I got was this was the same stream where Mary Lou told Janis they skinny-dip”

    They own a piece of property big enough to farm on. It could be big enough to have all sorts of stuff on it.

    :even if it’s a different body of water, if there are alligators in one, you can’t be certain about the others nearby.”
    If you were only at one body of water, and didn’t see any alligators, and hadn’t seen another body of water, in which there WERE alligators, how would this affect your knowledge of the (relative) likelihood of encountering alligators in that first body of water? Schrodinger’s alligators either are there or aren’t there. Mary Lou and Gene either know there are alligators, or they don’t know there are alligators, or they know there are not alligators. (I live in an area where the bodies of water are 0% alligator, but in which some people are startled to learn that rattlesnakes can swim (by which I mean they are startled to learn that rattlesnakes can swim at all, and also they are sometimes startled to learn that rattlesnakes can swim in that particular location at that exact time.) But there’s lots of people who have been in the water and have no knowledge of rattlesnake swimming, and… and this is the important part… are none of the worse for it.

    “(I do know there’s a difference between alligators and crocodiles, but that distinction only really matters to alligators, crocodiles, and herpetologists.)”
    One of the important differences is that crocodiles kill hundreds of human beings every year, and alligators do not. (The most dangerous animal bites, in terms of fatalities inflicted? Mosquitoes, and it’s not even close.)

  13. Wendy Sep 18th 2017 at 04:24 pm 13

    B.A. There are plenty of places you can walk barefoot. Florida is not one, as even the best cared-for grass tends to have sandspurs or fire ants hiding in it. We are currently in central IL, and the grass here is lovely. Right now, our yard has crab apples in it, but that’s the only hazard to walking barefoot. I guess the part I don’t understand about the comic is if there is truly chicken poop everywhere, how did they get where they are without noticing sooner? Either from stepping in it, or the smell? (That stuff is strong enough to burn your eyes from ammonia, at least when it’s concentrated.)

    And I assume the skinny-dipping conversation is from other A&J strips recently. All I can say, is if they are in Florida, the only (fresh water) place you can consider swimming safely is at the source of a spring or in a pool. Spring water in Florida is 72 degrees, which is generally too cool for gators, so they tend to be farther downstream. And they don’t like the chlorine in the pools (plus many people have them screened in). Otherwise, any body of fresh water in Florida is dangerous and could easily contain gators. (They also don’t like salt water, but the ocean has it’s own issues, like sand in uncomfortable places.)

  14. James Pollock Sep 18th 2017 at 04:29 pm 14

    I went back through a couple of weeks of A&J, to follow the storyline.
    The skinny-dipping was discussed here:
    http://www.gocomics.com/arloandjanis/2017/09/05

    But the day before, Gene suggested they take a shotgun with them when they went out there.

  15. James Pollock Sep 18th 2017 at 04:42 pm 15

    “if there is truly chicken poop everywhere, how did they get where they are without noticing sooner?”

    Well, they were lost in reverie, and they went through some wine back at the house (over the previous couple of days).
    Also, Mary Lou and Gene are organic farmers, and (probably) have free-range chickens, rather than chicken-farming chickens. This probably means that Janis means “everywhere” to mean “in every direction” rather than literally “everywhere”.
    Or, of course, comic strip physics may be at play… they can’t smell anything because comic strip characters only smell things when the punchline says so, or when there are “stench wiggles” drawn into the strip.

    “I assume the skinny-dipping conversation is from other A&J strips recently. All I can say, is if they are in Florida”
    There are two references to skinny-dipping… one in the strip I linked above, and a bit later as Arlo suggests it to Janis in the river with the gators in it.
    http://www.gocomics.com/arloandjanis/2017/09/09
    I don’t think they are in Florida, specifically, because comic-strip vagueness, it’s just generically “gulf coast” flavored by Mr. Johnson’s personal experiences, which definitely include Mississippi and Alabama, and may or may not also include Florida.

  16. Brian in STL Sep 18th 2017 at 06:30 pm 16

    When I was lad, living in Oklahoma, we went barefoot a lot. One of the hazards encountered on occasion was a plant we called Goat’s Head, which I believe is “Tribulus terrestris”:

    https://delange.org/BullHead/BullHead.htm

    Nasty, big, pointy stickers.

  17. Mr. Grumpy Sep 18th 2017 at 06:46 pm 17

    I always assumed that Mary Lou’s daughter’s chickens were free range, so not surprised at the poop. But, do alligators eat chickens? If so, I have to question the free range idea.

  18. Cidu Bill Sep 18th 2017 at 09:20 pm 18

    “One of the important differences is that crocodiles kill hundreds of human beings every year, and alligators do not.”

    Be that as it may, if I see one of them coming toward me — while I’m walking barefoot through the chicken poop — I’m not going to ask which one it is.

  19. Stan Sep 18th 2017 at 09:27 pm 19

    Has anyone noticed that there is a trend among hipsters (…is that what they’re called these days? Male: man-bun, loose clothing, 3-4 day beard; Female: half-hearted dreadlocks, some torn clothing somewhere but not excessive, a number of piercings but not enough to set off a metal detector…you know, them) going around barefoot?

    In the city where I spent my summer, I noticed a number of youthful folk of said description above forgoing shoes as they passed me on the sidewalk. Is it just where I live, or is this a ‘thang?

  20. guero Sep 19th 2017 at 01:57 am 20

    Lot’s of people walk around barefoot where I am, and it’s not limited to hipsters (or hippies). Lot’s of free range chickens, too, but they refer to them as, ahem, “red jungle fowl”. Funny, I haven’t noticed an abundance of chicken poop.

  21. Meryl A Sep 19th 2017 at 02:48 am 21

    When I was growing up we were not allowed to walk barefoot. When we went to the beach in summer I wore little rubber sandals so I could go in the ocean with them on. (I would have to sit on the edge of the boardwalk when we left the beach and a parent/grandparent would take off the shoes, wipe the sand off my feet,dump the shoes and put them back on.

    Husband also grew up with always wearing shoes. Our slippers are next to the bed - get up slip them on. In the RV they are at the foot of the bed (as that is how one gets in and out) and we both put them on even for just the 2 steps (literally) to the toilet compartment.

  22. James Pollock Sep 19th 2017 at 08:27 am 22

    Depending on what beach you are on, wearing shoes may well be a very good idea. The sand can be too hot to be comfortable to walk on, but there are also lots of things to step on at the beach… jellies and sea urchins, broken shells or broken glass that are sharp, and, in my youth, pull-tabs from beer and soft-drink cans than were just discarded in the sand, despite being razor-sharp (There’s a reason modern cans don’t have an parts that come off when they’re opened)… that you wouldn’t want your little one to step on.

  23. Stan Sep 19th 2017 at 11:27 pm 23

    “Lot’s of people walk around barefoot where I am”

    Through the city? Or do you live on a beach? So, this is a trend? I don’t remember seeing people do this until very recently. Frankly, I find it a bit odd, but then again, I’m not very hip to the latest fads.

  24. James Pollock Sep 20th 2017 at 12:19 am 24

    “I’m not very hip to the latest fads.”

    I’m pretty sure Scout runs around barefoot in “To Kill a Mockingbird”. Granted, the young Ms. Finch IS a fictional character…

  25. DemetriosX Sep 20th 2017 at 07:18 am 25

    Aaaand James @22 has earwormed me with Margaritaville. “Stepped on a pop-top./ Cut my heel, had to cruise on back home.”

  26. James Pollock Sep 20th 2017 at 11:00 am 26

    I was referring to personal experience, not pop(?) music, but I apologize anyway.

  27. guero Sep 20th 2017 at 09:14 pm 27

    Stan - I don’t live on a beach, but it is an island, so there are lots of beaches nearby. There are no cities, (technically, there are no towns, just CDPs - census designated places, the largest with a population of about 11,000.). I will grant that more people wear flip-flops or sandals than go batefoot, but it is not an uncommon sight just about anywhere you go.

  28. guero Sep 21st 2017 at 06:04 am 28

    And I forgot to mention the universality of taking your shoes off before entering a home. Just about everyone is barefoot in their home.

  29. Kilby Sep 21st 2017 at 06:30 am 29

    @ guero (28) - The shoeless custom is universal in Japan (not to mention mosques), and is surprisingly widespread in Germany, but it is by no means universal in the US. It depends on where you live, and what kind of ground and/or sidewalks are prevalent in the neighborhood.

    The first time I ran into the concept of “changing into house shoes” was in Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood, and I remember thinking of it just as another one of the odd traits that made him so different from the “real world”. I can’t remember anyone who used house slippers in the neighborhood in which I grew up.

  30. James Pollock Sep 21st 2017 at 07:49 am 30

    “Just about everyone is barefoot in their home.”

    I’m almost never barefoot in my home. I have cats. Cats leave hairballs. I do not like finding them. I would REALLY not like finding them barefoot.

  31. Olivier Sep 21st 2017 at 08:41 am 31

    I have rugs : walking barefoot on them is like walking on the cat, minus the claws and hairballs.

  32. James Pollock Sep 21st 2017 at 11:37 am 32

    “I have rugs : walking barefoot on them is like walking on the cat”

    It runs up and tangles itself in your feet?

  33. Olivier Sep 21st 2017 at 12:36 pm 33

    “It runs up and tangles itself in your feet?”
    Sometimes, that’s what it feels like, when I trip on them :)

  34. guero Sep 21st 2017 at 06:08 pm 34

    Killy - I was referring to the universality of the custom here in Hawai’i, not the US in general, but we’ve been doing it for over 20 years going back to when we lived in Colorado, although we’d wear some sort of house slipper in the winter, there. And we had cats. You are right, JP, finding a hair ball in your bare feet is unpleasant, particularly the fresh ones. :-(

  35. Kilby Sep 22nd 2017 at 04:49 am 35

    @ guero (24) - Like I said, it depends on where you live. I’ve run into homes with “mud rooms”(*) in Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Montana (and even one in Germany), but I’ve never seen one in suburban DC.

    P.S. (*) I think I first heard the name in Oregon. It’s a room (usually at a side door, rather than the main entrance) in which everyone removes boots, shoes, & jackets before going into the main house.

  36. Cidu Bill Sep 22nd 2017 at 05:26 pm 36

    Both of our NJ homes had mud rooms, one by the front door and one by the side door.

  37. James Pollock Sep 22nd 2017 at 06:56 pm 37

    I don’t think they’re common here (in the urban/suburban part of Oregon). Maybe more in the less civilized parts of the state. (Although I’ve never seen one on the coast, either, and based on my experience as a youngster, the beaches are eroding at a rate of two shoefuls of sand per child visit, and this rate is constant even if you empty your shoes before you get in the car.

  38. Cidu Bill Sep 22nd 2017 at 09:58 pm 38

    My mother lives near Atlantic City and while she loves having her grandsons and their girlfriends visit, her rule is: once you’ve been to the beach, your shoes don’t come into the house, period.

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