Punk Rock Toe
When I was 13 my world was changing. I was touched by a divine insight. I knew rather suddenly that the world of my parents and teachers was make believe, that all of my dreams would come true but not if I stayed, barely surviving the daily brutality of lonesome hallways and violent rooms.
Somehow, though I had never seen it done, I knew I could just go. I knew I could just stop everything. I knew I couldn’t say no but I could run from what I would have said no to.
After my first leap of faith, out of clean sheets and into dirty streets, I was handed out of a police station into my Dads car and out of my Dads car onto my sisters’ couch.
The year before, when I had still lived with my mom, my toe had ached every night. It was the big toe on my left foot. Every night it would ache so badly it woke me up.
In the daytime it never hurt.
I knew something magical had to be occurring.
It was the year in the South Puget Sound when it rained for 93 days straight. A constant drip, sometimes a drizzle, sometimes a downpour, but it never quit completely in those months.
I finally figured that my toe was weather predicting. Every night it hurt and every day it was still raining.
When the spring came and the rain stopped, I made my break for it. I was on a lot of adrenaline, a couple of drugs, and a lot of Wow! What was that? Wow! Where am I? Wow! Who is that? I don’t think I noticed my toe hurting, which fit my theory.
No rain? Well than, no aching weather predicting toe.
It was on my sisters’ couch some months later that the pain came back. But it was summer and there was no rain, I did not understand. The pain persisted, now into the days and my toe started to change. It grew and turned purple and green and excreted the foulest smelling liquid any part of my body ever has. It made the couch I lived on reek the same way. One drop of the stuff and you would have to replace the carpet or just set fire to the car.
My brother came over one day as I was being told I would have to go to the doctor. I was still convinced this was a spiritual problem. He sat me down with a cigarette on the front porch and said, “Look kid. This toe of yours is a lot like the punk rock life style. It is smelly. It is pustulent. And sooner or later it is going to need a lot of therapy.”
As it turned out the bone in my toe had got fed up like the rest of me. We were both tired of living in the constraint we were given. I had run off. My toe bone, however, had started to grow. It was growing and growing at an incredible rate, pushing up my toenail and stretching everything around it. It would not have stopped until it made it out of my foot.
Doctors removed a full half-inch of new bone. I was a minor so they didn’t have to listen to me when I told them I wanted to keep it. It is in a jar somewhere getting taken to all kinds of conferences for doctors who specialize in osteochlondromas because no one had ever seen one grow like that, or that fast, or that big. If, in your many travels, you come across my toebone in a jar, please grab it for me.
Still kinda seems like a spiritual problem.