But sometimes I look down at my feet and wonder, "What did I do to deserve those?" It's not just that they are unnaturally large and clunky, or that the second toe on my left foot is longer than the big toe, or the corns that regularly attack my pinkie toes. It's all about the gnarly, insanely thick and unruly toenails. They've been getting a lot of exposure lately because I recently bought a pair of Havianas flip-flops that are just too comfortable not to wear all the time.
I always fear that one day -- or night -- I'll end up like that beautiful woman in Boomerang whom Eddie Murphy kicked out of bed because of her ugly toenails. That's the reason why I prefer to have sex with my socks on!
When I was in Siem Reap a few months ago, I had one of those foot massages where you place your feet in a tank and little fish rush at them and nibble away all of the dead cells and impurities. After 15 minutes of literally being eaten alive, my feet looked better than they had in years. Unfortunately, that look didn't last long.
Today I was walking to lunch with a friend and complaining about a pain in my left foot. The rounded bone under the big toe was protruding more than usual due to a nasty spill I almost took yesterday while trying to outrun an oncoming car to the other side of Silom Road. My friend, whom I have to thank for saving me from landing on my butt in the middle of Silom, looked at my feet and said, "Yeah, it does look a little bit swollen."
"Oh, that bump is always a little bigger than the one on the other foot, but it's larger than usual today."
He looked at me incredulously. "What's wrong with your other foot? Are two of your toenails black?"
Why hadn't I slipped into something less comfortable than those damn Havianas?!
Later on, I decided to go to my favorite mani/pedi parlour in Bangkok and see what they could do about those monstrous atrocities that I was walking around on. The woman cheerfully went to work, but she was having trouble working the clippers. "Your toenails are very strong," she said, as a piece of one of them flew dangerously close to her eye. I wanted to take my hideous claws and crawl under the nearest rock.
That was her nice way of saying that maybe it's time to rip them out and start over from scratch. While I thought about how painful that would be and fell into a deep daydream in which I was reborn with beautiful feet, she completed the 30-minute regimen, scrubbing, rubbing and polishing. She didn't perform any miracles, but when she was finished, my feet looked a lot better than they had when I walked in.
When she thanked me for coming, opened the door and told me to come back again, I didn't believe a word of it.