Whose Name Is Written on Your Foot?

I sat down in my man-chair. It was comfortable. It was quiet. It was peaceful. I was happily reading some Sherlock Holmes. Life was good.

Into the room came Offspring #2, who plopped down on the sofa and turned on the TV. Toy Story followed by Toy Story 2. I cough, and then I loudly clear my throat, but to no avail. Offspring #2 is firmly entrenched in the Toy Story world. Wanting to avoid an international incident requiring mediators and negotiators, I let the intrusion slide. I ignored Offspring #2 and went back to reading.

But pretty soon…

Well, you can probably figure out what happened. The giggling and laughing from the sofa caught my attention and before you know it, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is safely closed on the end table with Offspring #2 and me laughing and reciting lines by heart. (Admit it. “Positive is positive and negative is negative!” is one of the greatest quotations ever recorded on the intricacies of battery polarity engineering and placement.)

The following morning, in that magical mental place between the alarm ringing and full consciousness wrestling me back to the proper mental faculties, I had a image flash into my head. A vivid mental image from Toy Story 2 of Woody looking at the faded name of “ANDY” written on the bottom of his boot.


The name that represents belonging to and being a part of.


The name that gives Woody purpose.

Remember what happens to Woody in Toy Story 2 when the Cleaner wipes those four letters off his boot? Woody loses himself. He gives up trying to get back to Andy and the others. Gives up and floats away from all that is important to him. When the name disappears, so does the very core of who Woody is. Eventually, it takes a monumental effort by his friends to successfully bring him back to himself.

After the image faded away to full consciousness, the big questions exploded in my brain. Whose name do I have written on the bottom of my foot in permanent marker?

Who do I choose belong to?

Who do I choose to give myself up to?

What is my purpose, what is the driving force I stand on?

Is it a name that provides solid footing or is it one that causes me to slip and slide away from who I am?

I know now what has to be written on my own foot.

After many mistakes and various name attempts I’ve tested through life’s trial and error, I know the names that matter.

“God” on the right foot.

“Faith” on the left.

“Family” on the toes.

Copyright 2014, Mike Hays

Mike Hays

Mike Hays

Mike Hays is a husband, a father of three, a lifelong Kansan and works as a molecular microbiologist. Besides writing, he has been a high school strength and conditioning coach, a football coach and a baseball coach. His debut middle grade historical fiction novel, THE YOUNGER DAYS, is a 2012 recipient of The Catholic Writer's Guild Seal of Approval Award. You can find it at the publisher's website or on Amazon.

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