Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Looking this good definitely isn't easy

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If you have spent any time looking at the photo that accompanies this column -- and I can't imagine you haven't -- you will know I look pretty great for my age, which I can't currently remember because that is just one of the things that happens when you get older.

The tragic truth is, I've reached the point where I am no longer able to look this awesome on my own -- it takes a team of highly trained professionals to make me presentable for public consumption.

For starters, I now have to see a foot guy. This came about because my regular doctor feels my feet are my least attractive feature. "I'm going to send you to a podiatrist," is what he told me recently.

"Why do I have to see a foot doctor?" I demanded, because, as a crusading journalist, I'm trained to ask the tough questions.

"Because your feet are making ME sick!" is what my doctor grunted in his typical bedside manner.

My wife, She Who Must Not Be Named, was thrilled to hear someone other than her would be required to look at my feet. You are going to be shocked to hear this, but my wife kicks up an unbelievable fuss on those rare occasions when I ask her to trim my toenails due to the fact it's almost impossible for me to reach my toes, even if I'm wielding garden shears.

"You have Hobbit feet," she will complain, scrunching her face into something resembling a fist. "Your feet are disgusting!"

So there I was a few days ago, stretched out in a fancy high-tech reclining chair, while the specialist stared at my decaying feet the way marine biologists stare at a mysterious aquatic creature that has washed up on a beach and no one can figure out exactly what it is.

Within seconds, he attacked my feet with a variety of medical implements, including what looked like a belt sander and a mitre saw. When the smoke cleared, he started whittling away at my soles with a scalpel the size of a whaling harpoon.

"So," I said, trying to engage in small talk, "what are you doing down there, medically speaking?"

The foot doctor flashed a huge grin. "I'm very proud of what I do," he replied as he whittled away, "so I always like to sign my work."

I believe he was just joshing around in a light-hearted manner, but I can't say for sure because my wife is refusing to look at my feet and say whether there is a name carved on the bottom.

That aside, the main team member I rely on in my ongoing quest to put my best foot forward -- at least when it comes to my head -- is Marla, the woman who has been cutting my hair for more than 15 years.

These days, she spends far less time dealing with the hair on top of my head than with the hair sprouting from other facial regions. Typically, she starts with my eyebrows, which for most of my life have sat quietly above my eyeballs like timid woodland creatures that crawled onto my face to die. In recent years, however, they have transformed into hairy jungle beasts on steroids, growing wherever they want and threatening to consume my entire face.

"You're at that point where your eyebrow hairs and the hair in your ears grow faster than anywhere else," she explained the other day, although it was almost impossible to hear because she was jamming a pencil-shaped power tool into my ear canals like a tiny weed whacker.

"What about, you know, the wild nose hairs," I shouted over the din.

She gave me the sort of mortified look I normally only get from my daughter. "I DON'T do noses!" she snorted in a tone that left no room for further discussion.

On the upside, I am delighted to say I have just obtained evidence proving I am not the only person in this city who is, quite literally, falling apart. Winnipeg police just arrested a woman and charged her in a robbery that occurred in 2007. The arrest came after a suspect was allegedly identified through a DNA match.

"While fleeing, the suspect dropped her partial plate of false teeth and left them behind," the news release states. "The teeth were seized by officers at the time for further processing."

The suspect has been released, but we assume the teeth are being held for questioning. Hopefully, a cavity search won't be required.

doug.speirs@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 24, 2014 A4

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