Rank and File

Unbeknownst to the State of California Board of Public Health, the Better Business Bureau and probably a couple more agencies charged with upholding standards of decency, I am engaged in the illegal provision of manicures and pedicures. Now, I’m strictly nonprofit and have only one client – the Lord & Master – but, please, keep my underhanded practices on the down low.

He’s a fairly unwilling participant in these shenanigans. I guess his witnessing my first snip of newborn baby Sassy’s nails still has him on the run. Okay, so I drew a little blood. How was I to know those infant approved scissors were that sharp? And so far he’s recoiled in horror at my offer that he join me at She She Nail Salon for my weekly mani. (What am I thinking? Giving up what precious alone time I possess voluntarily!)

Meanwhile, his preferred method is to chew off his claws and let time soften the rough edges. And he lets ’em grown long, professional guitar player long. In I swoop ready to repair that damage. I don’t know how he does it, but my husband’s fingernails have corners at each side. We’re talking actual right angles. While I’m cutting, he’s writhing and grimacing as if live nerve endings are involved. “They’re nails. They’re dead. You can’t feel this!” Even the filing upsets his delicate system.

And then we have his feet. Did you ever see Disney’s Beauty and the Beast? Remember those padded paws upon which the Beast tramps about the castle? That’s what we’re talking about – minus the fur, of course. Working on the hooves really challenges my strength, endurance and nose. The toes themselves splay out at an impressive variety of angles, causing the nails to warp into curlicues. Sometimes he draws blood just by walking, as a wayward snaggle eats into the neighboring toe flesh.

I literally have to saw the scissors across my galoot’s big toes. They’re as thick as a deck of cards, only stiffer. “What did you do before you married me?” I ask Honeybun as I pluck the odd sock lint and peel the yellowing dead skin flaps from between his digits. “Did your other wives do this for you?” “Oh, before you, my nails never grew.” I’d believe it. Those nails are so bulky they hover in space, barely connecting with his warm flesh. We may be looking at some evolutionary mishap down there.

I’m beginning to fear it’s time to drag my bigger half to the podiatrist. On a recent trip to New Jersey I had the honor of transporting Daddy to his monthly snip and file. With the right power tools, a pedicure takes less than five minutes. Who knew? My favorite feature was the vacuum that whooshed away all the bits and powder. Sort of like the gizmo the dentist shoves into your mouth to suck up the excess saliva.

My enthusiastic promotion of the speed and ease I witnessed with my father might be my one way ticket out of mani/pedi hell. I just hope the doctor wears protective goggles and a face mask. After all, he’d be doing it for pay. I do it for love.


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