I have this special way, which I’m sure is the special way of most people, of absorbing trivial information from credible sources, but then forgetting the source of the information by the time I want to use it, thus making it anecdotal at best.
I’m sure that I’ve read about the slow evolutionary recession of our pinky toe. The pinky finger is useful, to be sure, and not just for guitar playing or holding tea cups. But, the pink toe? It’s just a decorative flourish for the outside of the foot; it is a mere foot flourish. None of the staying power of the big toe, or the gripping ability of the middle three that allowed you to fetch things out of the bottom of the pool. No. And, if we were in the wild, running about with bare feet, somehow nature would favor those with increasingly smaller pinky toes until it became just a tiny side-of-foot nub, and eventually disappeared, leaving us with four useful toes in its wake.
Except, you know how you never appreciate the effect of something until you don’t have it? Like, mom annoyingly doing your laundry or an old jalopy that had really comfy seats? Well, my left pinky toe is in revolt today, folks, and I am feeling the impact.
This weekend I abused the toe, though not intentionally: I clipped the nail entirely too short and subsequently collided the poor useless thing with my bathroom door, as I am wont to do with one toe or another at least once a month. It’s not broken, as my co-worker with the broken pinky toe assures me I would barely have been able to put on my shoe in that event, but it hurts enough that it’s turning out to be nearly non-functional as my day proceeds.
The thing is, it’s not just the pain of walking around. I mean, yes, it is just the pain of walking around, but the pain itself isn’t what I’m finding to be so debilitating – it has had some unexpected side-effects. Walking down the broken sidewalk to the trolley my left foot couldn’t seem to find solid footing – it was like when you first step onto a beach wearing flip-flops, and you’re carrying something heavy, and the sand seems to melt away from your every step. Like that, but with sidewalk, because I could not get my whole foot to come down solidly to create balance without the cooperation of my pinky toe (which, in effect, is the spokes-toe for the entire side of my foot).
Tertiary effects included cramping in left-toe-number-four, which was using its grippiness to overcompensate for its out-of-commission pinky friend, and overextension of the capabilities of right-knee, as right foot and its respective pinky were doing quite a bit of work to keep me upright.
Walking back and forth to the printer a few times has finally beat the pain into pins-and-needles submission, but I still feel as though I’m hobbling because I cannot quite figure out how balance works anymore.
So, anyhow, part of me is like, “just cut the damn thing off, evolution was gonna get there eventually anyhow.” But, the other part says, “Oh my god, our descendants will be doomed, dOOOOOmed I say! How will they walk, or effectively battle the giant irradiated killer cockroaches, without effective pinky toes slash side of foot spokes-toes?”
I don’t know. I just don’t know.