The Ruricolist is now available in print.

Nondefinition #22

Shoehorns. A small strip of metal used to force feet into too-small shoes. Here is a device whose near-ubiquity tells you something basic and easy to overlook about the past. Look at old pictures and the looks on people’s faces and think: shoehorns. Look at old news and the things people said and did and voted for and think: shoehorns. The next time something about the twentieth century perplexes you, ask yourself: if I had to start every day of my life by levering my feet into stiff, hard-soled shoes, might I be as crazy?