Issue 15 Nonfiction
- Betrayed by the Matrix by Patty Wetli
“People don’t even need toenails.”
This was either intended as comfort or justification from Dr. Fleischer, who had just ripped the nail off the big toe on my right foot, using what I can only call a pair of pliers. (“Isn’t that a form of torture?” my husband asked later. As much as I wanted to play up the trauma of the day’s events, I had to admit that Dr. Fleischer had numbed the area first—using a needle that I swear was longer than my foot—and the nail was already semi-detached.)
Technically, the doctor was right. Fingernails serve an actual purpose—they help us grip things like pens or spoons or pliers—but there seems to be no biological reason for toenails to exist (though they come in handy when you need to scratch your opposite leg or punch holes in your pantyhose). So it’s easy for a podiatrist, especially one with all ten of his nails intact, to pronounce them obsolete. But as someone now in possession of an incomplete set, I could think of at least one very important use for toenails. They make toes look like toes.
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