There are a lot of body parts I’m not particularly happy with (you thighs know who you are), but the one part of me I’ve never been bothered by is my feet. Not to be conceited, but I’ve always thought I had pretty nice feet, as far as feet go. They are not too fat or too thin, my arches are not too high or too low, and my toes all line up nicely in descending order. I don’t have bunions or hammertoes or any other unsightly foot blemishes. All said, they are good feet.
Then one day as I was removing my shoes, I noticed a small callus on the side of my big toe. Within a week the small callous turned into a bigger callus, and then it became so big it actually looked like I had grown another toe. It was the callus-that-dare-not-be-named. But I named it anyway. I called it Volde-wart.
“I don’t understand,” I whined to my husband. “I used to have such cute feet, but now I have this hideous thing growing on the side of my toe. Look!”
He peered across the couch at my toe. “Wow! That is one gnarly callus,” he commented. “It looks like you have a whole other toe.”
I glared at him. “Where do you think it came from?”
He glanced again. “Outer space?”
“Nice. Thanks a lot.” I pouted. I didn’t like this blight on my otherwise adorable tootsies. I was afraid the ladies at the nail salon would gossip when I went for my pedicure. “Did you see that hideous thing on her foot,” they would whisper. “It’s the size of a condo.”
The next day I went for a run to get my mind off my ugly toe-thing. When I got back, I took off my shoes and socks and noticed that my callus was bigger and that there were now calluses on the tops of some other toes, as well. Now I was deeply concerned. I had a beach vacation planned in two months so I knew I had to act fast or be shunned on the beach by the pretty-toed people. I decided the time had come to consult the foot expert. The smartest toe person I know. My pedicurist.
“What do you think,” I asked as she held my foot up for closer inspection.
“Do you run?”
“Yes. In fact I just got fantastic new running shoes.”
“They’re too small,” she declared, matter-of-factly. I thought about how much money I had dropped on my new running shoes and the fact that I bought them without my orthotics and then ran with them with my orthotics and the whole thing added up to a whole lot of stupidity and some very unattractive calluses. Reluctantly, I chucked the new shoes and went out and dropped more money on a second pair that fit well with my orthotics.
“We figured out the mystery of the callus-that-dare-not-be-named,” I said to my husband when my ordeal had ended.
“Well, that’s a load off my mind,” he replied.
“My running shoes were too small.”
He nodded. “That’s because you bought shoes for people with five toes, not six.”