I am in love with all of you, and your bristly squirrel toes. (Squirrel? I don't know, I just wanted something that wasn't "hobbit.") You are terrific. Come here please and sit on my lap.
I feel like I want to confess more things now, but that's pretty much all I have. That's my darkest secret. Hairy toes. Okay, maybe I have some olde-timey skeletons rattling around in my closet, but as for current habits that I find more or less embarrassing, shaving my toes is right up there.
All this toe-talk is reminding me of an anecdote I promised to share with you months ago. I am always doing this. The moment I write "I swear that I will soon tell you this funny thing!" I then lose all desire to write it. I immediately lapse into sulky adolescent mode, like you're all my MOM and you keep telling me WHAT TO DO. Quit it! You're not the boss of me! I got this new Gang of Four cassette and I'm going to turn it up super loud!
I wrote previously that this story involved hitting myself with a hammer, and then after I published the post I realized it wasn't a hammer at all and I wrote "hammer" when I meant something else entirely. It was a dictionary. I have a very very specific neurological condition wherein I switch "dictionary" and "hammer." This makes for some confusing times at the library, I'll tell you what!
(Does anyone go to the library to look at a dictionary? I mean, even before the Internet?)
Actually I do know why I said "hammer," and it will soon become clear! Get ready!
This event occurred a while ago, before Henry was around, or Charlie, even; I was living with Scott, as we have been together since the dawn of time. One day I woke up to find this hard lump on the top of my foot. It was as if it just popped up while I was sleeping, and oh it rubbed against my Doc Martens (early '90s!) and really put a damper on my fun times as a young editrix in Manhattan's glamorous glimmering midtown.
I tried thicker socks and looser shoes, but it was still pretty uncomfortable. Because I am me, I assumed I had some kind of rare foot-based cancer. I cried some, while staring out the window, thinking about everyone who would miss me. I didn't go to a doctor, of course; instead I called all my friends about it, usually while I was at work. One friend took it upon herself to find a diagnosis, and it happened that she worked in an office that also had a nurse in it. I'm really not clear on what she was doing. Some kind of insurance work? Maybe the woman was a former nurse? MAYBE MY FRIEND WAS A DOCTOR? At any rate there was an R.N. in her office, and she consulted the nurse lady, who said it sounded like a ganglion cyst.
I had never heard of that and I figured it was another word for "horrible lump-based giver of death." But she went on to explain that it's a harmless growth that's actually filled with fluid, even though it seems hard.
The thing to do, she told me, was to smash it. Hit it really hard with something heavy, she promised, and it would burst and go away. She instructed me to hit it with a big book, like a dictionary, or (you guessed it) a hammer.
I do not generally leap at the chance to abuse myself with heavy things, but I was assured (BY A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL) that whacking myself in this way would be relatively painless and anyway a small price to pay for the ability to wear Doc Martens again. And what if it did hurt? I was already mildly uncomfortable all the time, and maybe that mild discomfort was worse to bear than one moment of extreme ouchiness?
After a pep talk administered by my friend and her nurse-pal, I arrived home from work determined to beat the shit out of my foot until this thing was gone. "One good whack should do it," I was instructed, but I'd go for forty if I had to.
Scott was not yet home, which was unfortunate, because if he had been there he would have gently removed the book from my hands. Then again he might have beaten up my foot himself, if I asked. He's awfully accommodating.
I went into our living room and fetched our heaviest book, which happened to be a dictionary. (Related: remember owning dictionaries? Oh, the past!) I mean, it wasn't the OED, but it was pretty damn hefty. I removed my shoes and socks, and then I brought that dictionary down on my foot, hard.
I checked the lump. Still there.
I brought it down again. Rechecked: still there. And again. By now I was panting a little. Again, no change in the lump. I went on like this for a while. I whomped my foot with this dictionary--harder than a reasonable person should really hit themselves with things--determined, as I was, to pop this cyst.
Finally, I lay on the ground, panting and sweating. I looked at my foot, and the cyst was gone. GONE! Success! I had probably shattered my foot, but at least I wouldn't have to deal with that lump!
Then I tenderly prodded the top of my foot, and there it was, just as hard and knobby as it had been before my assault. I just couldn't see it because the rest of my foot had swelled up around it.
And that is pretty much the end of my story. I still have that damned lump. My friend's nurse friend suggested I try again (WITH A HAMMER) so I called the police on her. (Wouldn't that be great, if you could call the police on anyone who gave you terrible awful advice? And who was this nurse person, giving advice to total strangers? I have real-life doctor friends who wouldn't give me advice if their lives depended on it. They're all CALL YOUR DOCTOR I CAN'T MAKE A DIAGNOSIS OVER THE PHONE before I'm done saying hello. They know me so well.)
You might notice, if you check the Wikipedia entry I linked to above, that it mentions NOT TO HIT A GANGLION CYST BECAUSE HITTING IT DOES NOT WORK. Oh, Wikipedia, I needed you back then.
I don't notice my lumpen left foot these days because I very rarely wear shoes that are anything like Doc Martens, i.e. hard-topped lace-up type shoes. I actually did buy a pair of Oxfords a while back and then I gave up because of my horrible disfigurement. I can wear all kinds of other shoes, though! I'm a normal person just like you or you!
What I couldn't get over for the longest time is how very hard I was willing to hit myself because I thought it was a good idea. The hardest part was giving up, frankly. I wanted to keep going. I think I only stopped because Scott got home and took the dictionary away from me forever and ever. And then he put the dictionary online so I wouldn't be a danger to myself any longer. He is so very good to me.