Best foot forward

FI-Joe-PisaniWhen my cellphone started buzzing, I knew trouble was brewing.

I had missed a call from my wife and that triggered some panic because she usually would never call even if she won Powerball. Least of all then.

My wife only calls when the Visa statement arrives and the Amazon bill is larger than our mortgage payment or I forget to shut the freezer door and the kitchen floor floods like India during the monsoons. So with fear and trembling, I called her back, expecting the worst… and those expectations were met. It was a day before my daughter’s wedding and there was a major crisis.

“I need a pedicure! Every salon is closed!” she yelled.

I tried to convince her no one would be looking at her toes because they’d all be looking at the bride’s toes, except for those looking at the groom’s or maybe the bartender’s.

But I was no help since I know absolutely nothing about cleaning people’s toes. In fact, when I was a kid, my mother always complained that I did a lousy job cleaning my own toes, which is probably why I never pursued my career aspiration of becoming a podiatrist.

Even worse, other people’s feet scare me about as much as my own feet scare me, especially the little toe on my right foot, which resembles a shriveled French fry. As a matter of personal policy, to avoid causing panic, I keep my feet covered in socks and shoes, preferably rubber rain boots. And I never wear flipflops.

Looking at a person’s feet is opening the door to something you don’t want any part of. It can change your opinion of your boss, your fiancée or even your mother. You’ll no longer think of their kind and gentle ways. Instead you’ll fixate on their collection of assorted bunions, calluses and corns.

Plus, there are all sorts of creepy foot formations, the kind you’d expect to find on E.T. Some people have middle toes that are too long or big toes that are too big or little toes that curl under like claws.

Even though I’ve never been to a nail salon, I get a pedicure every night when I’m lying in bed and suddenly feel someone licking my toes. No, it’s nothing kinky. It’s just the dog, who, I’m convinced, was bred in a nail salon because she’s obsessed with toes.

She scrupulously licks between each toe but gets hung up on the small toe that’s crinkled and starts to nibble, until I remind her it’s not edible. Deformed or not, I’d like to keep all ten of my toes.

So I guess you could say I have my own personal canine pedicurist. I’m considering hiring her out to a salon or maybe she can open her own place and start charging for her services because nail salons are big business. America has more nail salons than Burger Kings and I bet they could pull us out of the recession if more men got pedicures.

Another thing about nail salons is that women — my wife and daughters included — tell their pedicurists everything, even if they can’t speak English.

They know all our family secrets. They know our birthdays, break-ups, anniversaries, vacation plans and medical ailments, which leads me to believe we could save billions in healthcare costs if people just shared their problems with pedicurists instead of psychoanalysts. After all, they both have “-ist” in their titles.

Anyway, my wife and I drove around town looking for a 24-hour emergency, quick-care salon, but there was none, which meant only one thing: I had to take action. I had to sharpen my nail clippers and get to work. The dog understood what was happening and started licking her chops.

Now, where did I leave my safety goggles?


Joe Pisani may be reached at [email protected]

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