I was reminded last weekend of a horribly tragic situation that exists in my family; such is the horrific nature of it that I have obviously stowed it away deep in my subconscious, ignoring that ugly little piece of reality, so that I might try to make it through each day without questioning the motives of whatever deity might exist in inflicting such cruelty and losing whatever tenuous grip on sanity I might have in the process.
My nephew, you see, is afflicted with syndactyly. That's right ... webbed toes.
I write this not to elicit pity, nor sympathy, but to describe the heroic bravery with which he deals with his malady. Imagine a young lad, being told that the school district had declared him ineligible for the swim team, citing “unfair advantage,” due to a condition completely beyond his control. Imagine a boy having to learn that someone yelling “DUCK” was simply warning him of an object rapidly approaching his head, and not poking fun at his fused podial digits (luckily, his noggin is quite solid, and no permanent damage seems to have resulted from those miscommunications).
One can easily understand how such a condition would be difficult to deal with, at best. My nephew, however, refuses to let it affect his well-being, knowing that
The suggestion has been made that on his other foot he get a person on a surfboard … get it? Surfin’ the web? Huh? Huh? Is this thing on? I know you’re out there … I can hear you clicking the “Next Blog” button!
I, of course, being the self-serving weasel that I am, attempted to use his condition to my own advantage, and ventured down to the Department Of Motor Vehicles to apply for a handicapped parking permit:
DMV Woman: “Can I help you?”
Dead Acorn: “Yes, I’d like to apply for a handicapped permit. My nephew has the webbed toes.”
DMV W: “I’m sorry … did you say that your nephew has webbed toes, so you want a permit?”
DA: “That’s correct. I could catch it at any time, and I’d rather not have to walk across a huge parking lot when it happens.”
DMV W: “I’m pretty sure that’s a genetic anomaly, and not something that you catch. Also, it really has no effect on people who actually have it. In fact, it can be quite the conversation starter, as well as being an incredible opportunity for creative tattoos.”
DA: “Oh yeah? Well, look what happened to my dog since we got back from visiting him!”
I showed her a picture I had taken of Indy the night before:
DMV W: “You … ummm … taped her toes together with masking tape and taped some hair on top of it.”
DMV W: “Next!”
As she was obviously deaf to my pleas and oblivious to the suffering of others, I walked out. Slowly. And limping. I could almost hear her eyes rolling.
This world can be so cruel.