Before going to work that Tuesday, Boone Doggle stood in front of the mirror for a final self-check before heading out the door. He was struck by something he hadn’t noticed before.
The distance from his head to his feet was far greater than when he’d been a youngster. He looked down at his feet and saw this enormous distance. Seems obvious, but it had never occurred to him until then.
Going out to his car Boone almost stumbled. Suddenly walking was hard, because he couldn’t avoid thinking about the long legs attached to his feet and how they must be having difficulties keeping all the different parts like ankles and toes and knees organized.
He told people at work about it. Pretty soon everyone there was afraid to even go to the drinking fountain.
By Thursday it was a national phenomenon. Americans everywhere realized they were on shaky foundations. They stopped going for walks. One locked his cats in the laundry room, afraid he’d trip over them.
Even children tapped into the fears and began walking carefully, with their arms raised to protect them in case they fell.
Many sought the advice of orthopedists and psychiatrists.
The medical community quickly responded. Urgent studies were conducted. An article in the online National Journal of Human Mobility documented the findings.
The disturbed people, the researchers decided, were suffering from Heda-Peda Awareness Syndrome.
Once people found out that their condition had a medical name they accepted it as a part of growing up. They stopped worrying about how far it was from their hats to their shoes. Soon they were again gossiping about the new worker in Cubicle 7 and planning what to do on the weekend.
Boone still looks in the mirror every morning, but now he only worries about his receding hairline.