DON DELILLO REMEMBERS THE PEDOSCOPE

X-RAYED
CA. 1962 | Roger Vivier for Dior
Source: V&A museum


“I read something in the paper not long ago. Made me think of you,” Matt said. “Remember those machines they had in shoe stores? Tall consoles sort of like old radios, but with a slot down near the bottom.”

“Jesus, yes. I haven’t thought of that.”
“The clerk puts shoes on the kid’s feet and then the kid goes and stands with his feet inside the slot.”
“I haven’t thought of that since I was, what. They stopped making them.”



The Pedoscope Shows Good Fit/Bad Fit


“And the clerk looks into a viewer at the top of the device and can see the feet inside the shoes.”
“To check the fit,” Nick said.

“To check the fit. Well, the machine was a fluoroscope and what it did was transmit x rays through the shoe and into the foot, it’s called differential transmission and it makes a shadowy greenish image. I just barely remember this. Jimmy’s buying you a pair of shoes and then he’s lifting me up so I can look into the machine and see your feet inside your shoes and your bones inside your feet.”



The Pedoscope In Use


“The question is, Where are those shoes now?”
“No, the question is, Did you do this enough times to suffer bone damage because the machine was basically spraying your feet with radiation.”
They heard the key in the lock.

“I have healthy feet,” Nick said.
“I’m relieved.”
“But thanks for the scare. I’ll do the same for you someday.”

Don Delillo
From: Underworld (Scribner, 1996)



X-Ray Fitting


 

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