A few nights back my wife was awakened by a strange noise coming from the lower level of the house. Naturally, because I’m the closest thing to a man in the house, I was elected to get up and check it out. I woke our dog Boo to help with the investigation. She slowly got up from her dog bed, stretched and then headed to our toilet for a quick drink before plopping back down and back to sleep.
I stopped at the edge of the stairway and relying on the honesty and good manners of would-be criminals yelled out,
“Is anybody down there?” Since I received no response I assumed it was a false alarm and stumbled back to bed. As I was just about to get into bed, my last step was a bit too far and I stubbed my toe, hard, into the metal leg of the bed frame. I flopped on the bed clutching my toe, howling in pain. My wife offered a sympathetic suggestion, “Maybe if you clipped your toenails more than once a year that wouldn’t have happened.” Shows how much she knows. I faithfully trim the toenails twice a year; during the vernal and autumnal equinoxes. I guess my manscaping may be remiss when it comes to my feet, but it’s not my fault; it’s genetic.
The sight of the human foot repulses my father. Normally, he averts his eyes in the presence of an exposed bare foot with a facial expression resembling someone who’s just eaten a piece of raw liver freshly pulled from a cat’s dirty litter box. Once, at a public beach, I saw his knees actually buckle and I swear I detected the audible sounds of dry-heaving. Although I’m not crippled with disgust at the sight of a foot, I’d rank feet as my third least favorite place to look at on another human being; slightly behind up their nose and deep in their ear canal. (There’s another dark place I’d rather not peek at, but children may read this and along with a disdain for feet, my father taught me a little class.)
Have you ever gone to the community pool and looked at people’s feet? It’s horrific! There’s chubby, stubby Fred Flintstone toes and some toes as long as fingers, long enough to dial a rotary phone or pick up a piece of fruit. Feet weren’t always like this. Once supple and healthy, they were gently played with, the toes were sang to and lovingly referred to as “piggies.” Now, they just resemble pig’s feet. Toes that were once straight have developed a free spirit of adventure, curling and gnarling themselves into fantastic shapes and unpredictable directions.
Take a look at one of your hooves right now. I guarantee one toe has manipulated itself to form a perfect right angle. The pinkish hue of once youthful toenails has been replaced by what best resembles hardened chips of dried, yellow, tree sap. For some reason, each passing year adds thickness to each nail, like paint on the interior walls of an old apartment building. Currently, I am still using a standard clipper but I fear the day I’ll need to employ the use of yard shears is looming on the horizon.
I don’t think they’re too long, although once in bed, I accidently bumped into my wife’s leg with my big toe and sliced open an impressive wound, which prompted her to yell, Hey, Edward Scissorfoot! When you gonna trim those!?!” Careful what you wish for, I thought. Last time I trimmed the claws, I was having a particularly difficult time severing the last bit of the big toe nail. With a mighty squeeze of the clippers, the stubborn nail broke free with a loud, clicking noise. Having heard this sound before and fearing being impaled with jagged, accelerated nail shrapnel, my wife, daughter and even Boo dove like battle savvy soldiers into a foxhole, or in this case, behind a pile of dirty underwear and socks.
Some men protect their families and homes from criminals with elaborate alarm systems, studying martial arts, a baseball bat or even a tennis racquet. I choose to ward off evil with my feet. Next time I hear a noise in the middle of the night, I’ll simply declare loudly at the top of my stairs,
“I’ve got really long, sharp toenails…and I’m not afraid to use them!”