top of page
  • Writer's pictureJim Pfiffer

Full of Wit

The sanding of my feet

Written by Jim Pfiffer
Illustrated by Filomena Jack

Have you ever closely examined your feet?

I did, two weeks ago during my first pedicure at an Elmira nail salon, thanks to a gift card from my wife, Shelley. I decided to write about it and brought along a pencil and pad to take notes.

The procedure took about 50 minutes, giving me plenty of time to study my 69-year-old feet and realize that they are hideous.

My toes point every which way. The big toe on my right foot is growing over the top of the toe next to it to demonstrate his dominance. (They have not gotten along since they were kids).

On my left foot, the little piggie that “cried all the way home,” is trying desperately to hide beneath the toe next to it due to an inferiority complex.

I not only have corns, but also peas, carrots, broccoli and cauliflowers.

“Pedis” is Latin for “feet” and “cura” is Latin for “tickles like hell,” because I have ultra-ticklish feet that tickle just by staring at them for too long.

I sat in a comfortable electric lounge chair, removed my shoes and socks, rolled up my pant legs, and dipped my tootsies into a warm tub of water containing an orange-colored cleaner.

My male pedicurist, who wore latex gloves and an antivirus mask, chatted with his female coworker in Chinese as he worked on my feet. Given the condition of my ugly feet, I suspect their conversation when something like this:

Pedicurist (shaking his head): “Look at these disgusting hooves on this Sasquatch.”

Pedicure woman (laughing): “Ick! What the hell is he writing on that notepad?”

After washing my feet, they were dried, covered with oil and wrapped in plastic wrap, like Italian hoagies. He let them sit for a bit, while he tended to a woman having her nails done.

I noticed a nearby tray of tools, files, sandpaper, emery boards, a Black and Decker belt power sander, and sharp-edged and pointed instruments that looked as if they belonged in operating rooms, woodworking shops and Spanish Inquisition torture chambers.

Illustration by Filomena Jack.

According to my notes, I wrote, “WTF is he going to do with them?”

When he returned, he used them to painlessly deal with my overgrown toenails.

I don’t regularly clip my toenails for three reasons:

  1. It’s difficult to bend over to touch my toes.

  2. My poor eyesight means I might mistakenly clip off a toe.

  3. I can’t remember the third reason.

My manicurist used the tools to skillfully clip snip, pick, dig, prune, sand and file my talons into attractive crescents, then finished with a layer of clear polish. They looked presentable. I was amazed. He is an artist.

I was enjoying the experience, taking copious notes and admiring my feet when the trouble began.

He started in on my soles.

Each time he touched them, it tickled, and I jerked and convulsed so violently I was afraid I was going to kick him in the face.

He patiently struggled to hold my feet still while making another remark to his coworker that sent them both into head-shaking hysterics.

I rarely see the bottoms of my feet. Who does? I was surprised to discover they had calluses bigger than a sumo wrestler. He sanded, scraped, filed and rasped at them, finally using a hair-brush size device that looked like one side of a four-sided tin box cheese and vegetable grater.

“Yikes! He’s going to shred my feet like a carrot stick.”

I watched in disbelief as he used it and other auto body repair shop tools to grate, sand and grind away white flakes of callus skin that drifted to the floor like disgusting skin snowflakes.

Next, he covered my heels with more plastic wrap, containing a pool of orange liquid (probably hydrochloric acid) to eat away the remaining calluses.

He then used an electric-powered Dremel-like tool with a rotating grinding wheel to smooth my toenails. I swear I saw sparks. He should have been wearing a welding helmet.

Next, came an oil change that contained grit (probably broken glass). He massaged my feet and shins, rinsed away the oil and used two smooth and flat black stones to massage my feet and shins. It felt so good, that when I went home I got a few river stones and asked me wife to give me a rock massage.

She laughed and happily offered to throw them at me.

I’m happy to report that my first pedicure was an enjoyable and learning experience. My feet look so good, that I’m wearing flip-flops to show them off, and it’s the middle of winter.

I’m looking forward to my next pedicure, but I will do two things differently:

  1. Bring a book to read instead of a notepad and pencil.

  2. Learn to speak Chinese.

About this feature

Get more Jim Pfiffer humor on his FullOfWit blog, his Facebook page, and his podcast The Viewsroom on Zoom with Pfif & AWAC. 

To contact and learn more about Filomena Jack and to see her artwork go to


bottom of page