John Cage & The PedEgg

I heard something recently that I still can’t believe I heard. A lot of people are very upset about their feet, and I have proof. I was in Walgreens with my son, I think we were buying diapers. We were walking through the aisle that has all the AS SEEN ON TV stuff in it. This section is one of the uglier things I have ever seen. There is a lot of text-heavy bubble packaging and flapping coupon dispensers. It’s messy. There were two friendly ladies with clipboards standing in front of the display and poking at a product called PedEgg. I was sort of watching them wondering who they worked for since they seemed less rushed than regular Walgreens employees and one of the ladies said, “Can you believe this is the best selling item in Walgreens?” “Really?” I said, “Just in the infomercial section or in the whole store?” “The whole store!” The lady said, and she laughed and scribbled something on her clipboard. The PedEgg is a little cheese grater for the bottom of your feet. This object is optional, it’s not toothpaste or hydrogen peroxide, or one of the more useful things you can get at a drug store. Instead, it’s what we Walgreens customers are most likely to have in common. Horror of feet. People are buying it though, all together. So this information is a little bit upsetting, but it’s something that I’ve been able to live with. Until last night, I started thinking about it again.

I was reading last week’s New Yorker. Alex Ross has a piece on the life of John Cage, apropos of a new biography coming out. Ross explains that the thing that finally got Cage out of “elegant” poverty in the late 50′s was not music but wild mushrooms. This was well after his reputation as an artist was established. He started making money hunting mushrooms for the Four Seasons and other restaurants, but he really hit the jackpot when he was was invited on an Italian game show and asked a lot of questions about mushrooms. He won eight thousand dollars.

I don’t know why, but this little culture story represents some kind of final straw for me. We hear a lot about the fairness or unfairness of “the market”. I’ve been staying up late discussing the “value” of an MFA with a friend who has just embarked on getting one. I even caught myself discussing with my husband the “value” of having a lot of facetime with our son, since I don’t have a full-time job. It makes us unhappy to put a sticker price on the things we think are really important, and it should – but sometimes we sort of have to do it anyway. However, I have a new idea. If the career of a major composer was supported by game show money and mushroom hunting, and also adult humans buy more PedEggs than any other single product when they visit a Walgreens store, the market might be reasonably viewed as absurd. I like this much better. Up is down, down is up. Of course what is important doesn’t sell! Who cares! Of course, I care a lot, since I have a kid to feed – but I am hoping that I can ride the cheery wave of “THE MARKET IS ABSURD” for a little bit longer. It helps.

This entry was posted in Current, News. Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.


  1. Nick Palmer
    Posted October 12, 2010 at 1:09 am | Permalink

    I agree that the market is completely absurd in large part because those who claim it is rational start from the assumption that humans behave in rational ways which is clearly false. Throw in market manipulation (see Zero Hedge) and things are sure to be completely wacky! I too value lots of face time with the kid and am so happy that you of all people get to spend your time doing that then spend your time making money in the absurd market. Dali would truly be proud of the market of today!

  2. kim bennett
    Posted October 12, 2010 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

    Hey, Zero Hedge is neat! Dali was a super Capitalist, but yeah, he’d love this.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>