You want to know what bugs the bejammers out of me? It’s people my age (73 on Jan. 13 — Pendelton Large, if you would) whining about aging.
I mean, what do they want? NOT to age? Because, let’s face it, bubbeleh, there’s only one way that can happen naturally. And if it hasn’t happened, and you won’t take the gas pipe, then your only gracious choice is to play it as it lays.
Besides, old age offers lots of advantages well worth the wait.
Like what, you ask?
Like being able to join the AARP, that’s what.
You join the AARP, and you get their monthly magazine, which I find almost as entertaining as I did Exotic Adventures, Man to Man, and Stag back in my salad days. In fact, I don’t even have to open it to reap its full value. The cover alone takes care of that.
Almost all their covers feature some celebrity who, amazingly, hasn’t aged a day since their prime, lo, 50 years ago. And in that issue the celeb will reveal their secret of Youth Eternal.
It’s no secret, really. According to them, anyone can look that good — forever. You need only follow their regimen of yoga and pilates; a low-fat, high protein diet; drink lots of water, get lots of sleep, and take a multivitamin every morn. Of course they don’t tell you that spending a couple million bucks on botox and collagen; on nips, tucks and suctionings; and on a pound or two of surgical-grade silicone might also keep the bloom on the rose. Dye jobs and Photoshop don’t hurt, either.
Something else you can look forward to in your dotage? Senior Super Saver Day at one of those putative restaurants that cater to the Wrinkle City crowd. Generally they feature gourmet fare like chicken fricassee, mashed potatoes and squash, all cooked to near-liquid and absent salt, pepper or seasonings of any sort. Sure, there’s no taste, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is everything is easy to chew, digest and poop, which, when it comes to food, is like winning the Golden Years Trifecta.
But don’t think it’s all smooth sailing on the S.S. Viejo Farto. Uh-uh. Believe it or not, life in some areas gets much tougher, and one in area in particular is at the ends of your toes.
I’m talking toenails.
Trim no more
Certain medical conditions cause toenails to thicken, but it can also happen from aging alone. From what I’ve read, like everything else, your toenails’ growth slows down as you age. In turn, toenail cells, like a mob trying to run out of a too-small exit, tend to pile up on each other. And thus the thickened nail.
Actually, I made that last bit up. I’ve no idea WHY they thicken, but I figured you’d get a kick out of that great simile. But I can tell you from first-foot experience that toenails thicken. Like most processes, it’s gradual, and dealing with them is also gradual.
While my toenails got tougher to cut, so did my approach of how to do it. Several years ago I quit using cheapie clippers and got a pair of shiny, stainless steel, made in Italy, not China, clippers — the ones that look like they belong in the OR. They worked great for a couple of years; then they started working worse and worse. And finally last week they didn’t work at all.
Actually, they worked in that the jaws moved fine. But that’s all they did, and they only did it till they made contact with my toenails. At that point they stopped dead, as if some supernatural force field emanated from my cuticles.
There I am, my foot on the seat of a chair and me jacknifed at the waist, clippers on nail. Blood rushes to my head, my guts feel like Killer Kowalski just clamped on The Claw, but the only thing clipped is my breathing.
Obviously, the cutosity of the clippers could no longer keep up with the toughosity of my toenails.
And equally as obviously, I now needed different clippers. But where to get them?
I always try to buy locally, even if it costs a bit more. But in this case I won’t, because if the new ones didn’t work (and I’d no faith they would), I wouldn’t want one of My Home Town’s merchants have the hassle of refunding or returning them.
I then turned to The Font of All Things Buyable, Sellable, or Lookupable — the internet.
A trim with vim
I followed a process, while not as old as the sun’s setting, was every bit as predictable.
After I cranked up my computer, I hit Google and then punched in “Best Toenail Clippers.”
Of course I got a bunch of hits, from podiatrycartel.com to footfetish.org and everything else in between. After that, it was just a matter of looking up various clippers’ customer reviews.
I won’t bore you with that; I’ll just say I looked through a buttload of them. And then I did what anyone with half a brain would do — I said “to hell with it” and picked one. It was something with the eponymous name “Nippit Nail Nipper,” made by a company called Harperton. I’d never heard of either the Nippit or Harperton, but it didn’t matter. I’d made my choice, and I was going to stick with it.
Besides, I was a Dope of limited options. The clippers I had didn’t work, the nail on my right foot’s big toe had already shredded two socks, and I don’t have an unlimited supply of socks. Besides, if this one didn’t work, I could send it back free and get it refunded.
I punched in my vital statistics, hit “send” and then had naught to do but wait.
I wasted no time when the package arrived. After I tore it open, I briefly checked out the clippers. They looked like cable cutters of sorts, had padded handles, and had jaws that came together at an angle much like a ships prow. But so much for my observing. After all, I’d come to bury Caesar, not to praise him, as it were.
Socks off, foot on chair, the Moment of Truth had arrived.
I took a deep breath, exhaled and then leaned forward, putting clipper on nail.
Oh, with a clip clip here, and a clip clip there, I’d trimmed all my nails in less time and effort than it just took to describe it. It was so easy — especially compared to my previous Herculean, failing efforts — that I just stood there in gape-mouthed astonishment. Holy Moly! Those clippers were the podiatric equivalent of the Vorpal Blade!
Plus the cuts were perfectly clean — these clippers didn’t leave the usual jagged edge my others did. If I had any doubts before I tried them, I had none after. Nippit was It!
And compared to my previous clippers, they came at a bargain price: They cost half as much but worked twice as well. Actually, considering the others hadn’t worked at all, they worked infinitely better … or something like that maybe. (Math never was my strong suit.)
So how much did they cost?
Let’s put it this way: When Jackie Boy Drury drags me and our mutual pal Joe Dadey to one of those precious pub-breweries he adores, it costs more for one round of designer beer than it did for my Nippits.
Which reminds me … Jackie Boy owes us the next round.