Stand up / When nature takes a hand in your feet

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THERE are some pretty funny natural occurrences in our world. Meerkats. Ear lobes. David Hasselhoff. I could make this an extremely long (and clearly dynamic) list.

Comedian Hannah Boland.

Regardless of your stance on the evolution/intelligent design subject, it’s difficult to find natural things on this planet that don’t serve a purpose. Spiders (unfortunately) have an undisputed place in the food chain. Bindis are spikey for the sake of survival (and quite possibly for sibling entertainment). Scientists can even justify the existence of mosquitoes, albeit tenuously.

But the one thing that has always flummoxed me when it comes to natural occurrences is the existence of my size 13 feet.

I have no idea why a 5’10” woman should have feet the size of the Queen Mary II. I know plenty of women my height or taller who balance just fine in a size 9-10. Yet there they are, dangling at the end of my legs like a pair of forlorn snowshoes in a hostile climate.

For years my Yorkshireman grandfather demanded the obligatory kudos that comes with trekking barefoot through snowy dales in dirt-poor post-Edwardian England (yes, he was performing that skit long before Monty Python). But he never had to do it while sporting a pair of Clydesdale hoofs.

Yet perhaps the purpose of these podiatric monstrosities has been a lesson in endurance after all. Back in my early twenties, there was no internet. Well, technically there was, but it was the kind that beeped and crackled every time you logged on.

It was no war-torn rural Britain to be sure, but stripes were earned with hours of my youth invested in shopping warehouse after warehouse, trying to find something that didn’t look like men’s shoes with heels glued on.

I endured countless pseudo-empathetic shopkeepers suggesting visits to the city’s transvestite boutiques; an option I would have happily considered if on the lookout for purple suede platforms with diamantes and pink feathers.

Now, thanks to some enterprising visionaries and the invention of ADSL, times have changed for us female sasquatches. I love that I can order custom-made shoes online, complete with parking sensors. But the availability of jumbo-sized shoe-dressings does not negate my past trauma, or the 20 per cent, slab-foot surcharge at Pamela’s Pedicures. I guess it’s one of those feats of nature (pun totally intended) that may very well remain as a great-unanswered question of all time.

Hannah Boland is a comedian and writer based in the Southern Highlands. She will perform her show “The Best Medicine” at the Canberra Theatre Centre on March 18. Tickets and info at

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