I had finished dinner and put my foot in a steel mixing bowl with a cup of vinegar and some baking soda, which foamed like a high school chemistry experiment gone awry. “What are you doing?” my son asked.
“Killing my toenail fungus,” I said.
“Yeccch,” he said. “How’d you get that?”
“Damp cycling feet,” I said.
Mrs. WM piped up. “Jitensha norisugi!” she said.
“Yep,” said my son. “Jitensha norisugi.”
This is Japanese and means “too much cycling.” Everything around my apartment is apparently the result of jitensha norisugi.
“I’m so tired.” Jitensha norisugi.
“My back hurts.” Jitensha norisugi.
“I’m not hungry.” Jitensha norisugi.
“I’m starving.” Jitensha norisugi.
“I’m broke.” Jitensha norisugi.
“I’m still living with my parents.” Jitensha norisugi.
“I’m unemployed.” Jitensha norisugi.
“My wife left me.” Jitensha norisugi.
“I left my wife.” Jitensha norisugi.
“I can’t sleep.” Jitensha norisugi.
“I overslept.” Jitensha norisugi.
“My balls hurt.” Jitensha norisugi.
So I wasn’t surprised that my rotting toenails were chalked up to jitensha norisugi. I didn’t defend against the claim. After all, when I’d gotten up in the morning my big toenail, which is greenish brown, covered in white fungus, and thicker than a Trump voter had oozed a full teaspoon of dark smelly liquid out from around the cuticle. That couldn’t be healthy. And then the toe itself hurt a little bit.
“How bad your foot toe hurtin’?” Mrs. WM asked.
“Not too bad.”
“How onna bad is not too onna bad?”
“Tolerable,” I said.
“Scale of one to ten?” my son asked.
“Shit,” he said.
So anyway there I was soaking my toe and watching a bunch of non-blood materials seep forth into the foaming vinegar-and-baking-soda brine, but I didn’t think any of it had to do with jitensha norisugi. I think the culprit was Raymond Fouquet.
He’s the dude who founded Velo Club LaGrange back in 1967 and two years later came up with the Nichols Ride, a Westside institution replete with Nurse Ratched and a lobotomy with all the trimmings. “Hey, dude,” Sausage had said. “We’re having a memorial ride for Raymond Fouquet to mark the second anniversary of the founding of Fouquet Square, why don’t you come?”
Never mind that “Fouquet” sounds a lot like “fucked” if you speak bad French, which I do, as in “You’re Fouquet on the Nichols Ride.”
“Is it gonna be mellow?” I foolishly asked. “Because the last time I did that stupid ride I got obliterated and couldn’t stand for three days. It’s the worst ride in America.”
Sausage nodded sympathetically. “It was your off season that day when you got gapped out. This time it will be easy. We’re riding in Ray’s memory.”
It sounded vaguely like a complete fucking lie but Sausage has a bit of the snake charmer about him so I assented. The ride was huge; over a hundred idiots who thought they were going to make it over the Nichols Wall with the leaders, when the leaders consisted of people like Frexit, Moonstone, Storm, and five or six other small people built mainly of skin and held together by water and meat strings.
The pace at the bottom of Nichols was so torrid that I immediately melted and got dropped, later to be caught by Okie, Strava Jr., and a couple of other much better riders who had chosen to start slowly and pray for a stoplight.
Thanks to great luck we did in fact catch the leaders at a stop light; for the first time in the history of the Nichols Ride someone had actually obeyed a traffic signal. Naturally it was Frexit who hadn’t yet learned the traffic laws of street racing, a/k/a breakaway rules a/k/a pedal until you win or someone kills you.
I tucked in for a moment then jumped away, eliciting much hilarity, and was hunted down and squished, then caught and dropped by a dozen other people, then straggled in forty-ish minutes later to the Preen Point, where everyone sweated a lot and tried to look stylish while panting in ugly spandex clothes.
The point of this is that all of the sweating and heat and exertion caused massive liquid pooling in my shoes, which exacerbated my toenail rot, which led to the excruciating pain in the morning and toejam discharge, culminating in a vinegar foot bath.
You say jitensha norisugi.
I say I’m Fouquet.
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