This I Believe

Jessica - Boonville, Indiana
Entered on November 2, 2008
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

I believe in hairy toes. Hairy toes. Everybody has hairy toes. Black, wiry, long hairs sprouting from greasy unkempt toes.

We all know about each individual hairy toe that we possess. We know that the pinkie toe of our right foot only has one hair, but that single hair grows and grows–faster than the hairs on all of our other toes put together, no matter what we do to try to stop it. And all of us together dread that day of the annual family beach trip. Yes, that awful day when the appropriate attire is none other than our dreaded flip-flops.

It’s at this time–when a handsome fellow walks up to us on the beach (fresh and glistening from the clear blue ocean–that our brain and senses kick into overdrive. As this quite nice looking person begins to converse with us, we notice, analyze, and calculate his every movement in order to determine exactly what he thinks of us. We see that he glanced down. Twice. We wince inside as the conversation continues, sure as anything that he saw our toes and is as disgusted with us as we are with ourselves.

We now cautiously, ever so secretively, begin sliding our feet beneath the loose, hot–HOT–sand. Our expression remains pleasant as we continue our polite chat. We don’t care about the fiveTHOUsand degree substance in which we are ever-so-calmly sinking our feet. We don’t cared that tiny, irritating sand fleas may now be feasting upon our seared flesh. And, of course, it doesn’t make one bite of difference that a broken bottle left by a fellow beach go-er is making juicy fresh cuts and causing bubbling spheres of blood to appear on our now surely infected skin. No, nothing matters except the fact that the good-looking person to which we are talking never again sees our stupid overgrown toes.

Hairy toes represent the insecurities that every person has. We have theses little things about ourselves that we dislike or hate or with which we are uncomfortable. We become hyperaware of these things when a person is around that we want to impress–attempting to hide anything that may be considered inappropriate or unattractive (whatever the case may be).

I believe in “hairy toes� simply because they are a fact of life that will never go away (no matter how many infomercial products we buy). These things are a part of us all. Although we should not embrace them so wholly as to point them out to all of the people we meet, we also should not be so ashamed of them that we are prevented from living a full, happy life.