‘Wow this is amazing! I’ve never seen anything like it before!’ exclaims the fit man in khaki shorts as he holds my left foot in his hand. Should I feel pride or shame? I briefly consider changing my name to Madame Piedmonstrueux and charging a fee. The skilled athletic therapist is responding to my malformed appendages in a familiar way. When an orthopaedic surgeon first diagnosed my condition in 1999, he beamed ‘These CT scans are definitely going in my special teaching files! I have not encountered such a case in over 25 years of practice’ ‘Oh. But can anything be done to correct my problem?’ I asked. He laughed hollowly, back turned while walking out the door. And no, his name wasn’t Dr. House. The podiatrist was more helpful, fitting me with orthotics that (among other things) tipped me forward to relieve some pressure. All the same, he ‘played with’ my feet, bending and twisting them for over 20 minutes, a glint in his eye and small smile on his face. It was kind of creepy, but that’s what I get for being such a freak of nature.
What exactly is wrong with me? Here is the official medical description of my left foot based on the CT scans: ‘Seen best on the reconstructed views is bony ankylosis between the left sustentaculum tali and the undersurface of the talus medially. Just lateral to the area of the fused sustentaculum tali is an additional bony bar extending across the subtalar joint between the undersurface of the talus and calcaneus. … Certainly there are degenerative changes at the site of articulation at this time.’
That’s my good foot; the right flipper is much worse but it would take too long (and require too many aculums) to transcribe that account. I requested a copy of my scans to upload and possibly also frame for display in my home—I study the history of medical imaging technologies after all—but finally decided against posting exterior views of my chronically angry feet, lest certain perverts discover and enjoy them. I am not being paranoid; every day at least one person googles ‘ass torture’ and is mistakenly directed to my post ‘Perky Ass/Water Torture’. I am less naive now.
It has taken almost 44 years for me to realize the full impact of my congenital birth defect. I think DAD put it best when he remarked ‘You have cloven hooves, just like a devil-beast.’ The feet look pretty normal and even cute from the outside. They are incredibly small (size 5), with pink painted toe nails, albeit swollen as if recently pulled out of twenty-five-mile-uphill hiking boots. When I first showed these puffy dogs to my childhood doctor, he told me to stop being such a whiner, and I came to understand that feet=pain=normal=shut the fuck up. So I only started complaining recently, making up for lost time. During my final session with SST—I regretfully cannot afford to continue with personal training, what with that bankrupting bikini debt hanging over my head—I bitched and moaned about my permanently aggravated achilles tendons, tight hip flexors, sore upper back, and migraine headaches. ‘I don’t like to be a cry baby,’ I explained after providing a detailed account of every ache and pain. That SST earns every cent she gets, especially after recommending the athletic therapist who admired my mishappen ‘plates of meat’ or just ‘plates’ [hey don’t blame me, blame the urban slang dictionary]. He has finally put everything together, noting that my fused feet have made my hips uneven and affected four vertebrae, especially the delicate C6, which has caused numerous imbalances and inefficiencies throughout my upper torso. ‘It must feel like your brain is being pulled out the back of your skull and down your neck, ‘ he mused before wondering how I was able to sleep through the night. Voice filled with admiration, he finally concluded: ‘Your back is a disaster!’
‘So, is it bad?’ I inquired.
As I was gathering hockey sticks, tennis balls and stretchy bands in order to do my assigned physio this morning, I suddenly realized why I was never able to master my figure poses [please see above]. I was physically impaired. If you think that all my training and weight lifting either caused or worsened this condition, think again. In fact, my high level of fitness and muscular development have compensated for my skeletal deformities and nerve damage. ‘The average person with your condition would be hunched forward in pain, with an immobile upper spine’ said the gleeful athletic therapist. In short, bodybuilding has saved my life, allowing me to both remain active and avoid painkillers. I can only recommend self-medicating with weight lifting instead of drugs, alcohol, and promiscuity. But you might like to try everything, just in case.
My new plan is to bring sexy back, and I often hum that catchy tune as my guiding mantra:
I’m bringing sexy back
Them other boys don’t know how to act
I think it’s special what’s behind your back
So turn around and I’ll pick up the slack.
Since Timberlake is obviously requesting a tergo anal sex from a baggy-scrotumed man, the song has little to do with me, other than its reference to a special back. After all, lady parts are all tucked away, neat and tidy. They do not flop about, needing to be picked up or repositioned, like certain improficient organs. But who am I to poke fun? We are all deformed in some way, not just men. Everyone I speak with has something odd, or misshapen in his or her body: scoliosis, misplaced kidney, three nipples. Even Ogre has a hideously truncated tail hidden beneath all that fur (ugh). My partner recently had his twisty sinuses surgically forced into shape, and you should not assume that the startling contrast between his pale upper arms and dark, hairy forearms is the result of an extreme farmer’s tan. After having his lower arms severed in a horrible golfing accident, they were replaced with those of a recently deceased, swarthy restauranteer. My partner’s hybrid genetics compel him to obey whenever I suggest: ‘Hey, why don’t you take those Lebanese man arms into the kitchen and whip me up some hummus?’ I also regularly demand that these lemon-scented limbs ‘farmer’ me. Out of pity for my disaster back, my partner willingly provides the requested intense back massage, its name stemming from MW’s description of how his brother-in-law would no doubt like to wrap his massively rough farmer hands around MW’s urbane neck to throttle the life out of him. Get in line, you ham-handed member of the Ontario soybean grower’s association.
Well, that’s pretty much it for this week. I’ll just run through my FFG blog post checklist one last time to make sure:
obligatory penis and or/scrotum joke
seemingly accidental Ogre reference, designed to please feline fanciers
bragging disguised as self-deprecating humour
deliberate intertextuality that invokes pop culture as well as previous posts, hoping to make regular readers feel like smarty-pants insiders
extravagant food description (oops, sorry fellow foodies, but don’t despair as I have scheduled a Moroccan feast for August 28)
introduction of new slang word and/or plush toy related to the theme of illicit male touching (ie. Q. Would you rather be babooned or farmered right now? A. Both, but first put on that Travelodge Shame Bear costume)