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Slices of Life

What do your feet look like in summer months?

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During the summer months, I enjoy going barefoot and dipping my feet into the lake. My husband and I experience our own version of a pedicure when we wade in a shallow sandbar and the minnows swimming there nibble on our toes. It scared me at first and grossed me out to be honest. But it only tickles and is actually pleasant once you get used to the idea of a small fish treating your skin like a smorgasbord.

During the summer, I become more aware of feet. It’s probably because they are more available and viewable during the height of sandal season. This can be good or bad, depending on the overall state of the feet within question or within view.

Feet are as different as the people walking atop them. Some are short, some long. Some are wide, some narrow. Some are hairy, some bald. Some have polished toenails; others go for a more natural look. Some are rather cute, others eye averting.

Like many things in life, my husband and I differ on foot stance. We are definitely not feet twins; our toes are not even distantly related. The height of my toes decreases from the tallest big toe to the shortest little toe in a uniform fashion. I am able to trim my toenails straight across because they grow straight and end straight. I have very neat and orderly feet. (I wish the same could be said about the rest of my body and my life in general, but that’s another topic.)

The length of my husband’s toes conjures up a one-word description: anarchy. There is no law, no order, no pattern of tidiness; it’s simple disarray. His toenails are not cut or neatly straight across. They are jagged and curved in places where jags and curves are unneeded and unwanted. Yet he doesn’t care and is basically unaware of the chaos living under his ankles.

My husband doesn’t give much thought to his toes, which is a good thing because pondering the subject would likely bring about frustration. What can a person do to change their toes? Not much besides polish and it’s highly unlikely my husband would ever go there. No, you’ve got to work with the hand (or in this case foot) you’re dealt.

Despite the fact that I’m okay with the overall look of my feet in sandals, I realize this is not the reason feet were put on earth. Feet have so much more to do than look pretty in flip-flops.  They are workhorses in the plainest sense of the word. 

Our feet carry the entire weight of our bodies – all day, every day. Every step we take is dependent on one foot or the other. When we go barefoot, they get dirty. When we wear shoes, they get sweaty. They get calloused and ingrown from everyday wear and tear. They get blisters when we wear the wrong shoes. We moisturize our face, arms, legs and body but often forget about our feet until sandal season is looming and they are literally calling out for help. They do so much, and all we give them in return is the occasional pedicure, which if I am being honest, I have never experienced. 

I hear many people think pedicures are fantastic, luxurious even. I don’t think I could enjoy one; someone picking at and messing with my feet just seems a little too up close and personal, unless it was a school of minnows. Then I could do that. 

Jill Pertler is an award-winning syndicated columnist, published playwright, author and member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. Don’t miss a slice; follow the Slices of Life page on Facebook.

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