Best Foot Forward

Recently I did something I have never done before, and it is not often that people in the second half of their seventh decade on earth can say that.

And yes, before you ask, it did involve removal of some articles of clothing and there was a happy ending. But more of that later.

As one gets older and one’s body stiffens up, it gets harder and harder to bend over to touch your toes. Even with regular exercise, getting your fingertips to touch the top of your socks is about the limit. The problem is accentuated if one puts on a few pounds as with advancing years one frequently does. There is also a natural tendency as you get older not to be quite so fixated with appearance, especially with regard to parts of the body which seldom see the light of day.

Which brings me to the subject of cutting your own toe nails. As the years go by, it’s a job that gets harder and harder, but the incentive and ability to do perform it thoroughly get less and less. It tends to be a sharp exhale of breath (to reduce tummy size), a quick bend and hack with scissors at the worst claws, then come back up for air. The result is naturally a deterioration in the state of the nails, the moons disappear and dead skin builds up. It is not a nice spectacle. For at least a decade I have been toying with the idea of getting expert help.

In my own case, the problem is made worse by an incident in Darwin more than 40 years ago. I worked every Saturday morning unloading the truck that brought frozen fruit and vegetables up from the south and one day I dropped a sack barrow with 200 pounds of melons on my big toe. Thinking it broken, I went to hospital where I was the beneficiary of "bush" medical treatment at its finest. The nurse came in, took one look at the toe, decided it wasn’t broken and the pain was caused by build up of blood trapped under the nail. She straightened a paper clip on the desk, put it through the flame of a candle for sterilisation, then drilled a hole through the nail to relieve the pressure. It worked, but the nail has looked odd ever since.

Now back to present day Hong Kong where a new business connection turned out to be in the nail business, though only for women and hands. But talking to him got me all fired up, I took the plunge and signed up with another company for my first ever pedicure. It was a magical experience. The young lady softened up the target areas by soaking them in warm water, then one by one took them onto a small towel on her lap and went to work. Something over half an hour later, both had been transformed.

As I strode away afterwards, it felt as though I had been given two new feet. Tell you what: I’m going back next week for another.