Fanfare for the Common Man: The toes’ turn

  • Thursday, August 22, 2013



Recently I paid homage to the most misunderstood digit of them all in Tall Man.
So, in order to be fair, I need to head down under. I’ll be the first to admit it: Toes get a bad rap.
They’re kept in the dark most of the time in tight, cramped confines. And if I’m being honest the reason I don’t like feet is because of ugly toes. I haven’t seen a pretty toe yet.
Hammer toes, toes as crooked as a dog’s hind leg, toes covered with more corns than the Nebraska prairie … toes are flat out ugly. †
There is an obvious hierarchy among the toes that isn’t specifically clear among the fingers.
While the fingers have the leader in the thumb, the other four digits get their own moments to shine.
For example, with a thumbs-up, it’s all good. When you have to get at something hard to reach you “pick” Pointer.
Nothing says “I love you” better than ring man, and when you need a loyal and true friend to swear never-ending allegiance, you look no further than Pinky.
Then, of course, there’s the much-maligned Tall Man and we’ve talked about him plenty enough.
There’s no question of the pecking order among the toes. In fact, the toes are a lot like the Jackson 5.
The big toe is obviously Michael, and who cares about the other four? We’ll let Tito and Marlon fight it out to see who gets stuck with the pinky toe.
If you think about it, though, it is the tiniest toe, the pinky toe that is the most valiant. It is the toe that has the most fun. It got to go “Wee, wee, wee, all the way home,” while the others went to the market and had roast beef, or stayed home and had none.
The pinky toe is the last line of defense among the toes. The big toe takes the lead, but it is the pinky toe, sometimes just a little nubbin of flesh, bone and a sliver of nail, that brings up the rear. It has the other toes’ backs, and it won’t hesitate to take one for the team.
It was my pinky toe that threw itself in harm’s way when my wayward foot stubbed a solid cherry wood dining room table leg. It was the pinky toe that took one for the team that day.
I took the errant step while racing from the living room into the kitchen to answer the phone. Ours was still tethered to the wall in those days. I hit the chair leg and heard “CRACK!”
My breaking toe sounded like a double to the gap.
I looked down to find the obedient four toes all in line with the big toe leading the way. My pinky toe faced crookedly in the opposite direction, fallen, mortally wounded, broken and turning purple fast.
I called the hospital and explained my dilemma. The ER nurse replied with a number “$375,” and the magic words, “$500 deductible.”
I was on my own.
“Be sure to bite down on a towel,” she said as we hung up.
So I bit down on the towel and grabbed my wayward Piggy. And we went “Wee-wee-wee, all the way home.”
To this day I can’t pass a Rooms to Go without breaking out in a cold sweat.

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