A peeve is a vexation. A pet peeve is a vexation that nips at your metaphysical ankles and wets on the sateen pillows of your soul. I hate pet peeves.
One of my most ferocious pets called peeve is toenail clippings. They’re ugly, grubby, and seemingly everywhere. I can take the craziness of reality television (almost), the injustice of modern American tax brackets (with rancor), and the relentless optimism of Madison Avenue marketing tactics (I’m being vaccinated) but I CANNOT take detached toenails.
It’s a pet peeve of mine.
Once I stood on the second floor of our two-story foyer and looked over the banister, only to see a wad of clipped toenails mounded in a tiny pile below me in the front hallway. Those toenails were not mine. As I stared down, I concluded that some unknown toe-groomer had been clipping their toenails on the second floor landing only to send their trimmings cascading down to the hallway below.
I also concluded that I might, quite possibly, be living with Visigoths.
The same week, I began stretching for my Tae Kwon Do class only to come face to face with several detached toenail clippings—less than a micron from my personal face. They were not mine. This meant that someone (probably a Visigoth) thought it a great idea to groom their shaggy toenails while practicing martial arts.
During class, I worked out my horror by punching and kicking the dummy, shaped like a Anglo Saxon/Hun invader, extra hard.
Soon after, I spent a few days in a Florida hotel, and you guessed it—toenail clippings—on the carpet, next to the bed. They were not mine. I tried not to black out.
But the worst was what I like to call “The Popeye’s Affair.” Standing in line, waiting to purchase the best and greasiest fast food chicken ever, I glanced down and spotted—a lone toenail, missing its foot.
Looking at my husband, I pointed and choked out, “Is that what I think it is?”
“Yep, that’s a toenail.” He ordered the three-piece chicken dinner, extra grease.
A thousand questions popped into my head: How did the toenail get there? How did it get out of its shoe? Was the toenail running away? What kind of barbarian clips their toenails in line at a fast food joint? Can the second Middle Ages be far off?
Civilization is a fragile agreement between individuals, consisting of written and unwritten rules, one of which is: “Thou shalt not discard bits of ones self where others can find those bits—ever!” It’s vile.
Let me conclude by saying, “Keep toenail clippings in their place and out of my sight,” and if you know who is clipping their toenails on the landing in my house, do the right thing, and TURN THEM IN. I’ll have DNA testing done, if I have to. You know I will.
Linda (Vexed and Peevish) Zern