Ceres is losing its only foot doctor on Nov. 1, but it may be gaining its newest comedy writer in the process.
Dr. William Kalanta’s decision to retire allows him to pursue writing humor.
“People ask me what I’m going to do after I retire,” said Kalanta. “After 40 years of being a foot doctor I figured out how a foot doctor and comedian pretty much do the same thing all day long – we’re just pulling your leg.”
He’s assembled his brand of humor – mostly corny jokes relating to the foot and the human body – in a self-published book, “Just Pulling Your Leg: A Book of Comedy,” which is only available on Amazon.
Kalanta said there’s an old adage about laughter being the best medicine, but he never saw it represented in The Physicians’ Desk Reference. “So I took laughter and I analyzed it … and it’s in there. I’ve got it broken down.”
The doctor has written eight books and is also in the midst of writing about the spirit. Amazon has more of his books, including Kindle editions of “Spirit’s Drug Reference,” “Playing with God at the Beach,” “Playing with God in the Valley,” “Playing with God in the Mountains,” “Spexting-Spiritual Texting,” and “Our World of Circles,” a children’s book.
“All my life I’ve studied about the body but the important part and the other half is our spirit, and that’s the part that’s going to go on.”
A Christian, Kalanta believes God is communicating daily to people through words we use every day which can teach and serve as a reminder and make people “really feel like he’s there.”
A native of Massachusetts, Kalanta came to San Francisco for schooling at the age of 21. He became a podiatrist 43 years ago in the Bay Area. Because his late wife wanted to have a horse ranch, in 1980 he moved his practice to Ceres which was home to just 16,000 residents. He remembers liking Ceres as a small town with its open fields stretching down both sides of Mitchell Road. Joe Foster showed him the building where the practice has stayed for 39 years.
While foot doctors don’t command the esteem that other specialists do, Kalanta stressed the importance of his specialty.
“In any contest people are asked the most neglected part of the body and that is the foot. And what’s the ugliest part? It’s the foot. But you know, if you can’t walk because your feet are hurting, they become very important. It’s your first form of transportation and you can’t enjoy your life after that.
“It’s very complicated. One-fourth of the bones in the body are found in the foot, hundreds of ligaments, the most nerves are found in the foot and if you’re a foot doctor, you have to be a pediatrician, a vascular surgeon, a surgeon, a dermatologist, a neurologist because all of these things enter into the foot.”
“When I was in medical school I didn’t know what to specialize in so I figured I’d start at the bottom and work my way up. I figured I’ll be a foot doctor and everybody would try to get their foot in my door."Dr. William Kalanta
When asked how he chose podiatry, humor creeps into his answer: “When I was in medical school I didn’t know what to specialize in so I figured I’d start at the bottom and work my way up.” Besides he said he figured “I’ll be a foot doctor and everybody would try to get their foot in my door.”
The truer answer is that Kalanta gave the specialty consideration because his younger brother sought the care of podiatrist for foot problems and that specialist invited him to shadow him as he saved people’s legs.
Doubtful that any podiatrist will fill the void he leaves behind in the Ceres community, Kalanta reflected on the trends in healthcare. He notes that private practice doctors are becoming a thing of the past in favor of group practices which are cost-effective.
“Nobody’s taking my place because the younger people I talk to don’t have any money. They’re a half-million in debt. They don’t want to own a business even if they have the money. The medical business is overregulated.”
Dr. Kalanta also asserts the trend will be seeing more physician assistants “because nobody wants to put in all the effort.”
Just where his new pursuit will lead, he’s uncertain.
“I know I can do comedy. I’ve done standup in the past just to see if I can do it, and I did. I’ve been paid for it so I’m a professional but I’m kind of too lazy to go out there and want to do it now.”