[This post is in no way an invitation for the god of ridiculous blog coincidences to shoot a tragic foot situation my way.]
When I was a little kid, I heard a story about someone working in a factory who put their hand where they shouldn’t and all four fingers were chopped off. Only the person didn’t know right away because their brain hadn’t processed the information–instead, they saw four bloody, severed fingers and thought, “Huh. That’s weird. Where did those fing–HOLY FUCK!”
I used to think about that story a lot because, for years, I had a nagging fear I’d lose a finger or toe and be forever relegated to the freak show. When you’re still in your first decade, losing part of your physical being seems like the ultimate horror, followed closely by a boy seeing your panties during co-ed square dancing in the cafeteria, which they made you do whenever it rained and you couldn’t have recess outside. You’re too inexperienced with the world to know there are much, much worse things you can–and will–go through.
Let’s fast forward to today. I was doing a bit of yard work, trimming the hedges (not a euphemism) with freshly sharpened hedge trimmers. I cut the stuff down, it fell on the ground, I dragged it over to the yard waste can, then I chopped it into smaller pieces where it lay so I could fit the maximum amount possible in the can.
I was wearing flip flops, of course, and as I made fast work of the debris, it occurred to me that if I wasn’t careful, I might chop off a toe instead of cutting through a branch. And unlike the effect it would have had in my childhood, that thought wasn’t scary. Sure, it would hurt like hell and probably bleed a lot, but other than getting a great blog post out of it and maybe eating some sympathy ice cream, it wouldn’t have a major impact on my day-to-day, my foot modeling career never having taken off.
Tomorrow I turn 45. For most of us, by the time you reach that age you’ve seen some shit, man, and come out the other side. Battered, bruised, a bit gravity-ravaged–but still kicking. Those childhood fears are mostly inconsequential–except for the thing under the bed. That one is still quite healthy.
So I wonder–if I get to be an old lady–what will I think about the things I worry about today?