Saturday, May 28, 2011

From Head To Toe

Off the top of my head I think of how I’ve hit nails right on them and fallen over mine with my heels. It feels good when I have my head on straight and even more rewarding when it goes awry for brief excursions. We’ve been told what a terrible thing it is to waste. We have a bit to say about that but just south of the mind/brain is our assigned face about which we deserve no credit nor blame, yet must come to terms with.

I’ve grown accustomed to my face. It took a few decades before I resigned myself to my lot. Early on, before shaving, I seldom looked in the mirror. By early adolescence I probably had more pimples than hairs; at least that’s all I saw. Growing up I only knew that I bore no resemblance to Henry Fonda or Cary Grant. Even now I sometimes question if I’d recognize myself if I ran into me in an elevator.

I wonder also to what extent our disposition is revealed by our eyes, our smile or the arrangement of our mouth. Do frowns, smirks or jaundiced eyes take over on the cynic’s face? Does a sour puss have a sour puss?

We just got pictures back from Peggy’s party. I did indeed recognize myself……or was it just that great shirt I was wearing? Some close-up shots were cruel and unusual to look at. My face was so red I looked like I was ready to open up a casino.

Maybe over time we grow into our face sculpting it with seasons of angst and seasons of love. Our sense of the absurd must also find a place between the ears. Just by giving our assent and owning it all, has to count for something. We can’t alter our advancing nose or the retreating remains but I’d to believe that generosity and forgiveness register themselves somewhere.

I doubt if toes get as much attention throughout our lifetime as in that first moment of birth when they are counted as a sign of normalcy if they number ten, no more, no less.

Unforgettable are those days when my mother took me for new shoes and I got to see my toes in the fluoroscope? Little did we know I was being irradiated. The fit of the shoe always rested on the wiggle room of my toes.

I was once famous, in my family, for the perfection of my toes. They were so well-behaved, lined up like boy scouts in the hierarchy of toe-ness. And they knew their place. Not only were they well shaped but strong, as toes go. My daughters called me Chief Big Toe when I demonstrated my prowess picking up marbles and even a hand of cards.

Now my toes have fallen from grace to disgrace; my nails, that is. There was a time when I broke scissors on them, so tough were they. Now they have grown sick and ugly, one by one, riddled with some fungus disease which blackens the nail. I don‘t want to talk about them. They have turned on me and don‘t deserve my mention unless one can cultivate an appreciation from the fungus’ point of view. I suppose they have provided a homeland for the much maligned, onchomycosis. It is often called jungle rot but I haven’t been to any jungle I know of; and certainly not barefooted.

Over a lifetime we stub our toes and tap them, go toe to toe and trip our toe on the light fantastic. They get their final due in the clichéd morgue scene when an I.D. is tagged onto the big toe. They bookend our lives from cradle to grave.

And so, from crown to toe, between eye of newt and toe of frog, therein hangs a tale.

1 comment: