This column won 2nd place in the August/September 2009 America's Funniest Humor writing contest. Yay me! Enjoy.
My bare feet were making a funny “Rrrip-Rrrip” sound as I walked across the carpet.
Looking down, I discovered the edges of my heels resembled barnacles, and it was these crustaceans that were snagging the broadloom like Velcro™.
Since I am a true do-it-yourselfer, I checked to see if my wife had any technology I could use to fix this problem – a potentially ticklish issue.
For example, women have this thing they use to bend their eyelashes. My kids and I think this lashbender device would be useful as an insect guillotine and are looking forward to using it in that role. Don’t say anything.
The only useful item I found in her Mysterious Female Ablution Accessories Drawer, though, was a wooden paddle with sandpaper attached to both sides.
“I can beat that,” I thought, racing to my workshop, trying to ignore the erotic possibilities of a wooden paddle with sandpaper on both sides.
I dove into the abrasives drawer and grabbed some commercial grade, diamond grit sandpaper.
As professionals know, sanding is important for a fine finish and this rugged paper would get the job done in manly fashion.
Now decision number two loomed: power or manual? Do I get out the trusty orbital, palm, or belt sander? Or should I just see how it goes freehand?
A vibrating tool in any mans hand can be dangerous at the best of times. What if my feet burst into flames? What if I had multiple orgasms? Heavens.
I decided I would tackle this job free-hand and see what happened.
I began to wonder: do I sand with the grain, or across it? Do foot barnacles even have grain? What is the price of grain anyway? I was beginning to lose focus.
Thinking it would help to soften up the raw material, I sat on the edge of the bath, feet immersed in warm, soapy water (lavender scented if you must know), reading a magazine, feeling downright contemplative. I was tempted to light a candle. I almost watched Oprah.
Then came the moment of truth. I removed foot number one from the water and placed it in the bench vise I had conveniently clamped to the side of the tub.
Bending to my task, a dreadful rasping sound rent the air, followed by a plume of skin-bits, barnacle flakes, sweat, sawdust and talcum powder, a jar of which I spilled while vigorously assaulting my cracked and turtle-like skin. A smell, reminiscent of lavender-scented bacon, filled the house.
Now, I have worked with pine and mahogany and oak before, but never bunion. I felt like an artist, a post-modern Michelangelo, sculpting in a new and exciting medium – callous!
Well it worked just fine – my heels emerged silky smooth and the operation was a complete success. Hardly any blood, only a thin layer of dust everywhere, and now I no longer leave a trail of scratches across the hardwood floor.
Carpets no longer hamper me. My shoes fit better.
Life and barefoot locomotion are wonderful again.
I’m curious, though: How often will my feet need a new coat of varnish?