Opinion Writer at Large
Social distancing is hard. Since we left school, I’ve been incredibly lonely and I’ve struggled to do anything, from finishing homework to cleaning the dishes to flushing my poo. But today, I decided to take my life into my own hands and change my situation for the better. I summoned all the strength I could find, and with some encouragement and support from my parents, I did something truly incredible. Today, I cut my toenails.
I know these days we’re inundated with feel-good stories, but my story is not the same as a grandma sewing face masks or teachers working overtime to help their students remotely. My story is much bigger.
Let me set the scene: I last cut my toenails three months ago. I was sitting in my roommate’s bed as I always do to clip those little piggy teeth, and when she freaked out for no reason we got in a yelling match that only ended when I dumped my toenail clippings in her hair and ran away screaming, “He-har, he-har, yeh can’t catch the toenail flinger!” If only I had known that that would be the last time we’d get to enact our cherished Battell tradition.
Fast-forward three months, and I’m sitting in my bed with kielbasa juice stains in the sheets and five-inch toenails. I hadn’t seen another human except for Craig, our kielbasa guy, and my parents for nearly a month. All I had done besides spill kielbasa juice on my bed was sleep and write a ten-act reinterpretation of Cats called Dogs. Something had to change.
In the words of Rupi Kaur, “I / decided / to / get out / of / my kielbasa / bed / and put on / fresh clothes / for / the / first / time / in / three weeks.” I invited my parents to come upstairs to witness my rebirth, and boy, did coming out of that kielbasa-scented womb feel good.
As my mother stroked my hair, and my father patted my back, I pulled the mighty clippers from my toiletries bag; I felt like King Arthur pulling the sword from the stone. I cried, “Ye flimsy toe top-hats; ye tiny foot spikes; ye cartilage manholes: ye cannot escape the wrath of mine toenail guillotine, mine Excalibur of the lower digits!”
I cut those babies for ten straight hours. My parents stood by me the whole time. When I was done, we all hugged and cried, and then put my kielbasa-stained bedsheets into the washing machine.
I’m not saying I’m a hero. That’s just what Craig, our kielbasa guy, said. I guess what I’d like to communicate with my fellow students is: be the change you want to see in the world. The world is your oyster. Do something that scares you every day. Eat, or be eaten.