I once had cute toenails. Some would have called them adorable. Starting at about age 30, however, my toenails began to transform, gradually turning into the things of horror they are today.
My wife would demur; my toenails were never all that cute, she’d say. Many a night I’d cuddle beside her, and she’d say, "For God's sake, when are you going to trim those things?" But even she admits, compared to the way they are now, my former toenails were cuteness itself.
I don’t know why my toenails age exponentially faster than other parts. My fingernails seem as spry and vigorous as ever. Medically speaking, I have the fingernails of a seventeen-year old, but like some freakish Dorian-Gray-type arrangement, my toenails mutate with alarming speed, as if they bore the physical evidence of my every sin and vice, along with all my wife's sins and vices, plus the dog's, the cat's, and at least one of the neighbors’.
Ironically, even as my toenails become ever more deformed and discolored, they grow stronger. The word Frankensteinish comes to mind. Nothing so repulsive should be so durable. They no longer seem made of ordinary toenail material, but from some inhumanly tough animal hoof, an animal, by the way, with remarkably ugly hooves. My toenails reduce ordinary clippers to bent and twisted metal, and I’d consider resorting to hedge trimmers, did I not fear losing an entire toe.
I contemplated consulting a pedicurist, but I was only fooling myself. Nothing could impel me to bare these abominations to a stranger. The nice Korean lady’s face would blanch and her jaw drop in mute revulsion. Customers would flee. I’d be expelled from the shop, but too late to prevent nightmares from haunting witnesses for years to come. Besides, nothing in her clipper and emery board arsenal would prevail against these claws. You might as well try moisturizing rhinoceros hide.
If even nail professionals fail, what can I do? Never appear in public without shoes and socks, even at the beach. Swim in shoes. Buy footwear over the internet to avoid accidental exposure to unsuspecting shoe salesmen. When the toes of my socks shred as if the nails were angry rats chewing their way to freedom, buy new socks immediately.
I only pray the time never comes when shoes and socks no longer suffice because my nails have become too disproportionate and misshapen. But my mortician! My poor mortician! He - or she, God forgive me if it's a she - will have to behold my gruesome toenails unadorned. What unspeakable monstrosities will they have transmogrified into by that point?
But it can't be helped. I will leave instructions that my body be handled by a blind mortician if at all feasible. If not, I will recommend tying a kerchief over the eyes or averting the gaze from my feet at the very least. As for the toenails, I recommend they be buried in a separate casket. A stake through their heart.