The Saga Of The Ingrown Toenail
. . . began Monday when I got out of bed. It’s anyone’s guess what vexed my big toe on my left foot the night before. As I put on my sock I felt a snag. My toenail had developed this ridge, causing the side to rise up and hook into anything dragged across its surface. As the sock tugged on the toe the situation unveiled itself in its entirety. In the front of the toe was a portion, going directly down into the quick. That’s what you call an attention getter.
Few things in this life can compare with the pain of an ingrown toenail. Maybe having sex with a mountain lion. Rising out of bed you do the one-foot hop to the bathroom to do your morning ritual. You look like a dog, having one foot in the air. Then, of course, comes denial.
When you first encounter the ingrown toenail you cling to the vain hope that it’ll just ”grow out.” I mean, how did God, in all His wisdom make the thing go down in the first place? Surely it will see the error of its ways eventually and simply return to normality. Ingrown toenails don’t think that way.
Then you pass on to the endurance phase. You figure you can tough it out until the pain subsides. You only have to make small adjustments. Such things as going to the bathroom, standing and cooking, wearing shoes, and sleeping.
Then comes acceptance. At long last, you look at it. All men have at least one renegade toenail. That’s one of the reasons we get undressed in the dark. It has nothing to do with anything Masters and Johnson wrote about. It’s all about that one toenail that looks like a Frito!
So, there you are looking at this thing. The reason you let it get this far in the first place is that this particular toe has always been an ugly little bastard. Your agreement with it was so long as it kept to itself and didn’t hurt you it was live and let live. Well, the toe broke the treaty.
You gently touch it. There is no doubt that this little guy is definitely plugged in. But, you’re a MAN. One little jerk and the problem will be solved. Ingrown toenails have roots extending all the way to your butt! You give it that first jerk and you discover that you weren’t that much of a man after all.
So you hop to the kitchen with your butt slammed shut and retrieve a large pan. Usually the pot roast pan. That’s about the size of a foot. Noticing a roast thawing on the counter you make a note to self to wash the pan when you’re done. No one is home except your eight-year-old grandson so whose to know, right? You fill the pan with very warm salty water and begin trying to soak the toenail into submission. After twenty minutes or so you pull out the foot and with the toenail now softer, begin to dig around it with a fondue stick. If you can just. . .butt slams shut again
Next comes the toenail clippers. Too small. Scissors. Bigger scissors. GARDEN SHEARS! The bad news is here you sit going after your toe with a hedge clipper. The good news is it seems to be working. Oh, you’re not going anywhere near the ingrown part. No, you believe if you can file the overall width and length of the toenail in general down that it may give the ingrown part room to grow, and eventually alleviate the situation.
Along comes your grandson. You discover that you’re jealous of his healthy toes. Inside your evil heart you know he’ll grow his Frito someday, but he’s standing there asking you what’s this all about.
You explain to him that the toenail has burrowed into your toe and you’re trying to work it free.
”Why don’t you just pull it out?”
”It hurts too bad so I’m using these scissors to trim around it.”
”Let me try.”
After you think about it you consider that perhaps he MAY be able to do some good from a different angle. And besides, he’s just a little guy, what harm can he do?
So he takes the large scissors and begins to try to trim the ridge. No luck. He studies the toe and again positions the scissors near the ridge, clasping onto it, slightly digging the blades into to nail. You smile. He can’t make the cut. But, he thinks he’s helping grandpa. How sweet. It’s right about then he does some kind of a rotation maneuver, pops the entire toenail, ingrown part and all, right off the toe and you lose your three best hemorrhoids!
He sits there smiling, ”Feel better Papa?” We’ll. . . yes! Yes, it does. The pain was so excruciating that your toe lost it’s mind and stopped hurting. An hour later when feeling returns there is no offending ingrown toenail, therefore, there is no more pain! You pay your grandson with hot chocolate and put the toenail into a medicine bottle to show friends.
The Butcher Shop