by Jerry Guarino
It was raining, as usual in
November, in the Pacific Northwest. School
children didnt mind. They joyfully jumped
into puddles with their yellow, green and red
boots. Outside their classroom, the boots lined
up in a rainbow of colors below the coat hooks.
Miss Changs second-grade classroom was
always so colorful inside too, with dozens of art
projects adorning the walls. Her students loved
to make new projects to show off in class and
during parent night. But child boots dont
ever cause a problem, no not like the little
rubber feet in this story.
No, Im talking about
the little rubber boots, shoes and pads that you
find on dozens of household and electronic
devices. Ill bet you dont realize how
many objects have little rubber feet on their
bottom, in order to cushion and balance the
device quietly in place.
You can find them on
portable speakers, laptops, computer keyboards,
lamps, stools and even on a kitchen food scale.
When one falls off, the object doesnt
balance. It wobbles and can drive you crazy, like
a table that is too short on one leg.
Mrs. Johnson spent hours on
the phone and her computer trying to find
replacement rubber feet for the various ones
missing. Of course, it isnt as simple as it
might seem. First of all, you cant go back
to the store where you purchased it. The product
isnt damaged and no store keeps an
inventory of little rubber feet. Then, if you do
find the manufacturer, they usually put you on
hold (theyre laughing at this time) and
give you an 800 number or website to follow. Once
online its impossible to find the little
rubber feet in the product description. Calling
technical support wont help; they say
little rubber feet are not a technical problem.
Mrs. Johnson finally found a contact us button
where she could describe her problem. Embarrassed,
she asked if she could purchase a replacement
little rubber foot for the item in question. When
she tried to submit the question, the stupid
Im not a robot gotcha made her
select street signs, chimneys and other objects
in the grid of squares. A few days later, she
received an email. The company would repair the
unit if she would mail it back to them. At that
point, she gave up. Mrs. Johnson was forced to
repeat this process for the half dozen objects in
her house that had missing little rubber feet.
She estimated that it took her over twenty hours
and a couple bottles of wine to find the missing
While she was on the phone,
her daughter Heather tugged on her moms
sleeve. Mom, will you help me with my art
Dear, its more
important that you do it yourself.
But mom, I want mine
to look good.
sure your dad and I will love it, as well as your
teacher. Just do your best.
Heather walked away sadly.
Come back here.
Her mom gave Heather a big hug. We love you
and whatever you do will be perfect. Now have fun
with your project.
It was parents night
at school. Heather held her moms hand and
pulled her into the classroom. Mrs. Johnson
greeted Miss Chang warmly.
Miss Chang, your room
is fantastic. How do you find the time to get all
these wonderful projects done?
Well, most of these
on the back wall were done at home, an assignment.
Lovely. What was the
encouraged to find bits of junk and objects
thrown away at home and create a project about
our town. You can see many of the kids have
depictions of the harbor, some of the state park
and even a few showing shops where their parents
Mommy, come see mine.
Just a minute Heather.
Im talking with your teacher.
They are all so well
done. Are you sure the parents didnt create
some of these?
Miss Chang smiled. Well,
we have a dont ask, dont tell policy.
Heather finally got her
mothers attention. She pointed at her
Look mommy, I made
this one for you.
Her mother looked at the
art project with a mix of love and regret. On the
page was a decoration with a half dozen little
rubber feet, in a landscape of the town harbor.
Little rubber feet for car tires and boat life
preservers. Little rubber feet on school buses
and flower pots.
She gave Heather a big hug.
Its wonderful. You did great.
Heather smiled at her mom.
And I did it by myself without help.
Yes, you did dear.
Rubber Feet by Jerry Guarino
Copyright September, 2019 All Rights