Thursday, 28 July 2005

Going Out on a Limb in Kansas: 'Journal-World' Reports on Amputee Who Asked for his Foot Back

exclusive: digitrash interview: Ezekiel Rubottom's version of the story

even the battle-hardened Journal-World reporter expressed surprise when he heard about Ezekiel Rubottom -- the 21-year-old artist, occasional hip-hop emcee, and recovering methamphetamine addict who keeps his recently-amputated foot in a bucket of formaldehyde on his front porch.

Police were first alerted to the situation when they received a call from a parent whose child reported seeing the foot. Officers went to the home where Rubottom has been living on July 23 and confiscated the amputated body part to put it into evidence storage. They wanted to ensure that no crime had been committed, the newspaper reported.

However, two days later, after learning that it was perfectly legal to keep one's own amputated body parts, the police returned the foot to Rubottom.

What initially began as a police investigation into a “public disturbance” quickly evolved into a fun biographical sketch of an eccentric local resident. “I'm not going to pretend it's the hardest news story in the world -- it's just a quirky feature or profile -- but it was fun to meet someone who's just a little unusual,” Weslander said.

Weslander reported that Rubottom was born with a clubbed foot and has dealt with pressure sores and infections throughout his life. This summer, one such infection became so severe that local doctors decided it needed to be amputated.

After the surgery, Rubottom reportedly asked to keep the foot. This hospital allowed it, provided he kept it in a container with formaldehyde.

This is exactly what Rubottom has done. He also added a beer can and a porcelain horse to the bucket. But perhaps the most striking modification was his decision to cut off two of the toes -- which he told Weslander he plans to give to friends as presents.

(After declining an interview Tuesday afternoon, he hung a hand-printed sign on his front door, not far from a tightly sealed bucket sitting on his porch.

“No More Media,” the sign read. “No news is good news.”)

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