Happy Foot / Sad Foot

  • Happy Foot / Sad Foot

The first time I came to LA as a visitor looking for a place to live, a friend gave me a solid piece of advice. He said when driving down Sunset Boulevard in the area of the Silver Lake / Echo Park border, be on the look out for the rotating Sunset Foot Clinic sign. He said that depending on which side you notice first — the happy foot with its arms raised in victory, or these sad foot hobbling around on crutches — that would determine whether you were going to have a good day or a bad day.

Now, I’m not a superstitious person. Wait, why did I just type that? I am absolutely 100% a superstitious person! Hell, I once wrote a blog entry about my weird superstitious routines during the darkest of my social anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder days. What could possibly compel me to write a lie as blatant as “I’m not a superstitious person.” Of course I’m superstitious. I used to wake up for high school every morning at exactly 6:39am and stay in bed until exactly 6:45am and then shower until exactly 6:56am and then dress myself before exactly 7:01am. All in the hopes that I would have a “good day” if I successfully completed that routine. Not only am I a superstitious person, I might go so far as to say I’m an extremely superstitious person.

So when my friend told me about Happy Foot / Sad Foot I took it to heart immediately. And on more than one occasion it has come true. I remember one night in particular when two random events forced me to drive long distances from my home to complete a stressful task. Don’t ask me to recall what happened because I don’t remember. But on that night I drove by the Foot Clinic four times and on each pass I saw Sad Foot. It’s funny, if you play the Happy Foot / Sad Foot game you never really remember the Happy Feet. Like any true superstitious person, when the belief that supernatural causation leads to negative consequences based on that belief, the negatives are going to be much more memorable the positives. It’s only when our routine actions or events predict (or confirm in hindsight) gloomy results that we focus our attention on them. So no, I can’t recall a single “I got Happy Foot and then [insert positive experience] happened.”

Tonight I got Happy Foot and I felt good enough to snap a picture of it as I was approaching the sign. Someone suggested I take a head over to Currywurst for dinner, and even though it’s two miles from where I live I walked. I was out of work by 5pm and had nothing to do, so a two mile walk down Sunset Boulevard wasn’t exactly an imposing feat. So when I spied Happy Foot up ahead as I walked west down the boulevard (isn’t that almost a Tom Petty lyric?) I thought to myself, “Well, duh.” Today was a Happy Foot day. I woke up early and ran the quickest 5 miles I’ve ever accomplished, I ate a solid breakfast of hard-boiled eggs and chicken. Work was easy. I received a package from Aquarius Records (White Hills “Live At Aquarius” Record Store Day exclusive CD). I was invited to an exclusive foodie event. And then I decided to walk a few miles to eat dinner because why not? And I’m about to go meet some friends for drinks. How is that not a Happy Foot day?

I don’t know if any of you who read this website actually live in the Echo Park or Silver Lake area, but it’d be interesting to see how many of you actually believe in the superstition/myth of the Sunset Foot Clinic’s Happy Foot / Sad Foot sign. Feel free to share your own memorable stories in the comments section. If no one comments I won’t be concerned. That just means either I’m not hip enough for east side hipsters to read my blog, or it means I can retain my anonymity (relative to my neighborhood) that much longer. So comment, or don’t. I don’t care.

NRBQ – Flat Foot Flewzy
Minny Pops – Footsteps
Giant Sand – Z.Z. Quicker Foot


  1. |

    This entry made me think of my Dad (aka your maternal grandfather)

  2. |

    […] felt to shoot a gun in a time of strife, then feigned normalcy. After two months I wrote “Happy Foot / Sad Foot,” and admitted feeling good for the first time since my world was turned upside down. Aside […]

Leave a Comment