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Confessions of My Wart, Which Is on My Right Foot, Second Toe

Rating: PG-13

This is, without a doubt, a pure act of selfishness. The average surface area of human skin is two square meters. And of that vast dermatological real estate, how much do you suppose I take up? I'll tell you: 0.0025%. Have you any idea how tiny that is? If we are one hundred thousand men, I'm only two and a half. That's right, I'm Charlie Sheen, Jon Cryer, and that cute little kid while you are a veritable army.

And yet you want to get rid of me. Eliminate me. Eradicate me. Applying a dab of salicylic acid every night before bed, hoping that foul-smelling liquid will suffocate my soul. Well, I have news for you. I'm not going anywhere.

Haven't you heard of the phrase, "warts and all"? Like, "I really love that guy, warts and all." See, I'm more than just an infection caused by the human papillomavirus. What I give your toe, and consequently your entire being, is character. So please put away the duct tape. I'm serious. Besides, it's not going to work, no matter what Wikipedia says (85% cure rate my ass!). I mean how ridiculous is that, to think that placing duct tape over me is actually going to have any effect?

Fine, go ahead, waste more of your time. Look at you, cutting that tiny patch of silver for little old me. I'm going to pretend you're dressing me up in a spacesuit.

So that's it - it's her. Don't even try to deny it. I may be underneath this sticky goo of duct tape, ensconced by your white athletic sock, and encased inside the prison of your sneakers, but my ears have never been better.

"Yuck-o," she said. "Eeeeeew," she said. What, is she like thirteen years old? I hate to tell you this, but I'm not the reason why she doesn't want to sleep with you. She's only hanging out because of your new car, anyway. Hell, if I drove a Jag, that is, if I could drive, which would mean I'd have arms and legs, I would certainly be able to get a better-looking woman than your floozy. My girl would of course loves all kinds of warts - plantar, flat, filiform, mosaic, even genital, my much-maligned, fun-loving cousins.

It ain't gonna last, Casanova. Consider yourself warned.

I'm fine. Feeling ever so fine! It's like how a bloated corporation has to downsize at some point to increase efficiency, so that's why I'm looking trim. It has nothing to do with your tireless devotion to duct tape occlusion therapy.

I must admit, I never thought you'd be able to keep it up this long. I haven't seen daylight for seventeen days now? Or is it eighteen? I'm losing count. Is it night already? Must be, because I'm tired. Excuse me, but I must get some rest.

I'm sorry, all right? But she was bad news from the beginning. If a woman can't love you, warts and all, she's not worth it.

Wait a minute, are you gonna take this out on me? Listen to me, but first, put down the nail clipper. Down. The clipper. Now. Good.

I've seen it all, okay? I've been there, man. I've been with you every step of the way, literally, since I'm on your foot. Remember Lizzie? Remember how she took her red nail polish and painted a little smiley face on your toe, using me as the left eye? Turning me into a work of art. Now there was a woman of substance.

See, they're out there. This one, she wasn't one of them, and that's all that it means. You've always been a wonderful human being, a generous, giving host. I love you, man. I love you.

Hold on, and please don't panic. Don't go crazy calling some podiatrist, because doctors don't have all the answers. Oh, they'll woo you with cryotherapy and laser treatments and candida injections, but remember, your cheapo health insurance probably won't cover any of it.

I swear I have no idea how you got another wart. Yes, I can be contagious, but did I do it? Did I knowingly transmit myself to your pinky toe on your other foot? Think about that for a second. Can you actually see how I could get all the way over there from here? No, my friend, that's not my style.

Just quit being so selfish, okay? God. If we are one hundred thousand men, us warts are only five. We are the Jackson Five, while you are larger than the Romanian army. Happy now?

Take it easy. You know that if you leave us alone, we'll eventually disappear. It might be months, it might be years, but one day we'll be gone.

And I promise you, you'll miss us.

Award-winning author, novelist of Deep Roots, acclaimed essays in NYT, and creator of Amazon-adapted Modern Love series.