Thursday, May 17, 2012

I Got My Feet Scraped By A Professional

OK, so if you are the type of person to get grossed out easily, look away. I have something terrible to admit. I have bunions. As in plural, more than one. Not bunion. Bunions. No, it is not a kind of dim sum. It is a horrible lump on the side of my foot that makes my feet look like old soldiers marching in from a lost battle. Not that I ever had great feet to begin with. My feet are flat, so they look like frisbees. And I don't get manicures every week like some people, mostly because I pity the professionals who have to touch my feet and I want to spare them the horror of it. If my feet were creatures, they'd be bedraggled trolls who hang out under bridges and eat children.

Why am I telling you this? Because I am compelled to simultaneously disturb and amuse. Ask God for more details. 

I met my podiatrist the way that we all meet new people these days -- on line. I made an appointment, which I was 15 minutes late to because even though I've lived in NYC for 10 years I still don't understand midtown, and I saw his face literally light up when I walked in - a younger woman who didn't look as though life had been repeatedly punching me in the face with my own fist, saying, "Stop hitting yourself, why are you hitting yourself?", like the other dozen or so people in the waiting room. 

He was unnervingly cheery and friendly, and we developed immediate rapport, so I was almost embarrassed when the doctor suggested I take my socks off and let him look at my feet. I said, "OK, but you're not going to like this," as I exposed my two little hunchbacks. He assured me that he had seen it all. 

He poked and squeezed my feet, telling me things I already knew - that I had flat feet, and that I had bunions on both feet. I was still somehow crushed. I was hoping he'd tell me that I just needed some lotion and a foot massage and everything would be fine. But instead he ex-rayed my feet and told me I'd probably need surgery. 

As we waited for the ex-rays to develop, I complained about the callouses on the bottom of my feet, which sort of resemble my very own built-in sneaker soles. "They come from having flat feet," he explained. "Can I get a special acid to burn them off in the privacy of my own home?" I asked. He joked that he could just sizzle them off here and pointed to a giant vat of some menacing looking bottle on his counter. "Let's do this," I said, without missing a beat, hoping it was a viable solution. Then he asked, "Have you ever had your callouses professionally removed?" Obviously, I had not, because they were still on my feet. "No," I said cautiously. "Well, let's do it now," he said. I began to get scared and excited all at once. I had no idea what this stranger was about to do. 

He opened a drawer and took out something resembling a scalpel. He put on gloves, sat at my feet, and immediately started cutting and shaving. He moved so fast and with such skill. It was like he was carving a turkey. Chunks of flesh went flying off my feet, like he was squeegeeing snow off a car's windshield. I tried to keep chatting and let my humiliation go. "It's no big deal," I told myself. "He's a professional. He chops people's excess foot flesh off every day." 

After about 10 minutes, he finally stopped slicing and scraping, and put the scalpel down. "Can I look?" I asked. "Sure," he said. I took a foot and bent it up towards my face to get a good look at the bottom, and I couldn't believe what I saw. I almost started crying when I witnessed the bottom of my foot. It was like a baby foot. Pink and fresh and as good as new. I actually got sentimental. I felt like I  was in the movie "Peggy Sue Got Married" and I got to go back in time to visit my feet when they were still the feet of the kid me. I was beside myself with joy. 

I thanked the doctor, covered up my wildebeasts and slipped them back into my shoes. Prancing off, I had a pep in my step. I wanted to take off my shoes at the subway station and show everybody, yelling, "Hey! Look at my feet!" But instead, I just went home and had a sandwich.

So hey, if anyone out there ever wants to see the bottoms of my feet now, just lemme know. The tops, though, are still off limits.