A Tale of a Toenail


A while back I was watching TV in my recliner and looked down at my bare feet.  I noticed that the nail on my left big toe had grown to an excessive length.  I got to wondering what would happen if I just let it grow.  (I have always been attracted to scientific enquiry that involves doing nothing, such as leaving leftovers in the fridge for a very long time or not mowing the grass for months.)

Toenail growth is not a rapid process, and I didn’t notice much happening for a few weeks.  Since I don’t wear socks I didn’t have to worry about snags.  I generally put on my shoes while standing, sticking my toes in and then stomping on the heel to convince the rear of the shoe to cooperate.  At my age, any strategy that reduces bending over is preferred.

Eventually, however, I began to detect some serious interference in the left shoe.  Luckily, I remembered an old pair of shoes where the stitching had come undone near the toes, so I shifted to that pair.  I considered just switching the left and wearing a newer more attractive right shoe, but I thought that might direct too much attention to my little experiment.

The toenail seemed to like the fresh air environment and got stronger and tougher as it grew.  Eventually it was, pardon the expression, “hard as nails”.  I experimented on it a bit, trying to trim it up with ordinary toenail clippers, but it was beyond ordinary means of control.

I thought it might come in handy in the yard, but with my bad knees I couldn’t get my leg swinging fast enough to cut anything.  I began to consider the possibility of ending the experiment.

Then one night I stabbed myself in the right ankle rolling over in my sleep.  Another morning I woke up and found a small slit cut in the sheet.  I had to wait until The Boss went to work to remake the bed so that the damage was on her side, hoping to avoid suspicion.  I knew I had to take action.

Ordinary clippers were hopelessly outclassed, so I looked through my tools.  Most of them were sized for puny little electronics jobs, but I did find my big pair of lineman’s pliers.  It could cut OK, but the jaws were so big it was hard to avoid my younger toes.

Finally I put a grinding wheel in my drill and clamped it to a workbench.  I could lean back in my chair with my leg outstretched and work the nail down.  I wound up using a few Band-Aids on the fleshy parts after some slips, but eventually I was back to a normal dull and boring set of feet.

And that’s a true story.  (Some exceptions may apply after the first two sentences.)


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