The Papa Files: Big Toe Remote


Fingernails are useful for a lot of things, like opening a can of hops and barley soda, or picking up a ridiculously flat phone off a table, or scratching my head when I’m confused about something – well that for a long time now I haven’t scratched anywhere except the sides above my ears; otherwise, I will damage the epidermal capillaries and I will have to wear a bandage on top of my head.

But what are fingernails for? Oh, I can scratch my legs almost to the knees with it, but I have less control over my toes than my fingers, and had to put a bandage on my ankle after such a lazy experience. I wonder if there is a simple medical treatment, like a toe bath, that will stop them from growing? I ask, because last night I had to go through the monthly torture of pruning them.

After my shower (nails are softer after a shower), I retrieved my trimmer from the medicine cabinet, I put one foot on the little square pouf I have next to my bed (which I ‘mainly used for putting on socks) and decided the lighting was too dim. Usually I carry the beanbag to my office, where the lighting is better, or I fetch my headlamp. But since I didn’t want to cut my nails anyway, I refused to put in the extra effort and decided to risk cutting off some toe tips. (What I did, and how do I put a bandage on the tip of a toe? That way fingers and toes look the same: bandage problem.)

I always start with the pinkie toe, and I had cut that and the ring toe off, when I spotted my little reading lamp on the bedside table. Hey, there’s a quick fix! I thought about unclipping it from the book and sticking it to my foot, but that was too complicated; and besides, it would probably hurt. So I set the book and light to the right when I trim my left toes and to the left when I trim my right toes.

Then suddenly I had a flashback to seventeen years ago, when my granddaughter, Sneaks, was five. I watched her all day for a long time (it was before Exwork) and sometimes I was exhausted and decided to stop teaching her the alphabet or how to paint with watercolors or play doodle games. children on my computer, and lying on my bed, with her watching TV at my feet. Well, one day when I was about to change channels during a commercial, Sneaks looked at my bare toes next to her and nudged my big right. I changed channels at the same time. It took her until the end of the ad to realize it was a different channel, and she asked me what happened. I told her she poked the remote with her big toe. She didn’t believe me. But she hadn’t seen the remote in my hand, so she nudged my toe again and I changed the channel. Eventually I established that pushing my toe forward changes the channel down – i.e. to a higher number (isn’t that confusing?) – and pulling my toe up rear was changing it to a lower number. Moving my toe from left to right controlled the volume, and all the other toes turned off the TV.

She did this for about twenty minutes before she got suspicious, and I confessed that I was cheating on her with the real remote. Well, she still wanted to play the game, just for the novelty, and we did that for three or four more days, until she got bored. I’m sure she didn’t stop because of some foot odor. My feet are clean, especially after cutting the nails.

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