There was a movie we watched at school during my elementary days. I don't remember what grade we were in, but I distinctly remember being at Pinewood at the time the movie was shown. The film was about a woman with no arms.
She lived as normal as life would allow. She went clothes shopping and grocery shopping. She cooked and handled knives (not sure if "handled" is the appropriate word). She rode a bike. She typed. All without the aid of the hands and arms that most of us have cherished. She used her feet as hands; her toes as dexterous as the average human finger.
I'm sure the school showed us this short film as an inspirational message about overcoming adversity. There was also a kid in our class that was missing half of his right arm - everything below the elbow - so they could have used the movie as a reminder to be nice to the kid with one arm.
Whatever purpose the school intended, it missed the mark with me. there is one scene that stand out in my memory that was particularly troubling: the grocery store. As she pushed her shopping cart around the store (barefoot), she would pull her purchases off the shelves with her feet. Then, balancing on one leg, she would lift the food item within the grasp of her toes and drop it in the cart. But then she went to the produce isles. She would (still balanced on one leg) she would use her feet to pick up various fruits and vegetables, and squeezed them with her toes to check for ripeness. The produce that matched her liking were placed into her cart. The produce that was not ripened to her desire (and this is the part that was most scarring to me) was dropped - from her foot - back onto the produce display.
I'm positive that I trembled for years at the sight of fresh grocery store bought produce. I kept thinking - what if someone wrapped their toes around this strawberry. And I'm supposed to stick this in my mouth? No matter how much you wash that carrot, or that pear... you can't escape the possibility that that piece of produce might have been held with the firm clutch of someone's bare foot. That was a notion that left deep wounds in my psyche. I am not 100% certain, but this state-sponsored motivational movie could be the source of my fear of feet. I hate feet.