It’s hot, it’s humid, it’s sandal weather and I had banged the pudding out of my big toenail. Not only had I bruised my toe, but my sweet, summer, strappy, sandals would have to sit lost and forlorn in the back of my closet until my nail healed. After two days of close-toed shoes, I had it. I slapped a Band-Aid on my toe and slid my foot into my favorite brown and bronze summer sandals. I wasn’t feeling it. The Band-Aid wound up sticking to the shoe, or sliding on my toe. Friction and Band-Aids don’t work well together. What’s a girl to do?
I slapped paint on the toenail, but it looked like a “Honey-I shrunk the big toenail” kind of thing. You know, great big toe…little bitty nail. That’s when I wound up on the nail care aisle of Wal-Mart. Never go alone when your toes don’t look their best, get a friend to keep you company and talk you down when you start looking at the false-toenail collection. You really need intervention in a weakened state. I, in all my foot vanity was ready to try it for the sake of pretty feet, enhancing pretty sandals. It’s not that I have a foot fetish or anything like that, it’s just that all my life shoes have been the one constant. They are only item of size that has remained the same size since high school. I have a lot of shoes.
I slipped into the house, snuck my false toenails into the bathroom like some kind of X-rated contraband, and proceeded to read the instructions. “Find the size that fits your nail bed best, gently file the top of your nail to allow for bonding with the new nail, open the nail glue squeezing out a small dab, and press nail on top of your natural nail. No one will know the difference!” Sounded easy enough. It took me three tries, and a lot of nail polish remover to unstick my index finger from my big toe, but I finally found the correct size nail and had that sucker stuck to my toe like it belonged there. I shaped it, filed it and painted all my nails a pretty mauve, and the next day wore my strappy sandals without a care.
I marveled at the staying power of these nails. Anyone who knows me knows that I am quite particular about clean feet and nails. It’s my OCD. I kept checking on the nail, making sure that my own was not damaged in any way and was still healing. All was well. We all headed out the door to our next outing, me and my little family. My daughter looked lovely, my son looked handsome in his pressed button down shirt and khakis, the hubby was sharp as usual, and I was sporting my best wedges with the peek-a-boo toe.
It all went wrong in the middle of the church service. I actually heard a “Ping!” I really don’t think I’m over dramatizing when I say that mauve is such a lovely color when the jeweled tones of a stain glassed window shimmer over it. My mind went blank. My son looked down, my daughter’s eyes were the size of high-beam headlights, and all I could think was, “How do I pick this thing up without attracting attention?” Yes, in the middle of the sermon, my nail had flown the coup, skipped the light fantastic and landed in the middle of our aisle.
My son reached down with a lightening hand before I could say a word and YELLED, “This is a nail!” Then he said, in an extremely loud voice, “It’s your nail Mama!”
I grabbed it away as quickly as I could only for him plead, “Let me look at your nail Mama!” My daughter muttered under her breath, “Oh gross.” If the floor could have opened up and swallowed her, she would have been fine with it. I had crossed the sacred line and embarrassed my teenager in public. It’s actually what I live for, but usually not in this particular fashion. Anyway, I struggled for composure, but just as we were about to bow our heads in silent prayer, it hit me.
I made the mistake of glancing over at my husband and I realized that he hadn’t missed a thing. I started shaking and trying in desperation not to laugh out loud. My husband had to actually turn away and my son kept asking “What’s so funny?” My teen girl looked more and more mortified and my shoulders shook harder from silent mirth. You know how it is; you’re in church for goodness sake! Here I sat at the age of 52 and I was shaking with glee in church like an adolescent. My kids have lost privileges for less, but I couldn’t help myself. It was funny. So it was a cheerful “AMEN!” that erupted from my lips at the end of prayer. I figure God was teaching me a lesson where vanity was concerned, and that a joyful noise can be found where we least expect it!