From the Blog

The Dumbest Way To Almost Break Your Toe

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I think I could maybe write a whole blog about grocery store consumerism. I have some of my more profound insights about our society while shopping for noodles and kitty litter. I believe that being thoughtful in the grocery store is exactly what retailers don’t want. I think they want us softened up by the bland, daily boringness of grocery shopping, so we are brainless and impressionable as we walk through the aisles. So that new colors or shiny letters or terms like “new!” or “wholesome!” or “goodness!” or “improved!” catch our eye, and we unthinkingly buy more stuff.

Or, they don’t want us to notice that they have shrunk quantities of products by messing with the packaging. Ever pick up a largish, cylindrical bottle of juice, and the backside has a narrower, handy grip on the back? So handy! But the bottle now looks like it contains much more than it does. They are hoping you don’t notice. They do this with bath products also. Plain, round bottles with round caps are soooo boring. Shampoo and conditioner bottles are now high tech, curvy or squarish or so much wider than they are deep, so that they look like bigger bottles on the shelves. And that is where the story of my toe begins.

I needed shampoo and conditioner. This was not long after I went blonde for the summer, trying to come up with a way to blend all of my goddamned gray with my naturally dark hair. I can’t say that I spend too much time on my hair. I keep it short and easy so I don’t have to mess with it. My shampoo choices are not particular. I get one of a few common brands, whatever is cheapest or on sale and doesn’t smell like apples. I can’t stomach fake apple smell. Or anything flowery or too strong. I don’t want to smell like a goddamned fake meadow. During a trip to the drug store, I grabbed a bottle of shampoo and conditioner and was on my way.

Except the next day, when I was in the shower, I looked at the two bottles and realized I had picked up two bottles of conditioner. Goddamnit. They were different colors! What the hell? How brainless do they expect me not to be? I grumbled about this and kicked myself. I used the conditioner and quickly realized I hated the bottle. It was squarish on the bottom, with a flimsy cap that broke into pointy shards the first time I accidentally dropped the bottle. So I had a full bottle of conditioner with a broken cap and I was just going to have to suffer, suffer, suffer until I got to the end of it. And when it was done, I had a whole other bottle waiting for me. Hate.

Okay? So fast forward a few months, I’m almost to the end of the goddamned conditioner bottle. I’m at the point where I have to shake and squeeze the bottle to get the last few drips out. And I realize again how much I hate those sneaky bastard grocery retailers. The cap is square, not round, and it is fused to the bottom of this curvy high tech bottle. So I can’t get the cap off to mix some water in and extend the life of this shitty product I hate. I’m pretty sure they do this on purpose.

I’ve had months to get worked up and seethe over this. I was reminded during every shower. I never thought to get the bottle of conditioner out of the shower and pry off the cap while my hands were dry. Because that would take planning and forethought. I just squeezed and squeezed that bottle, and got closer and closer to the end. The bottle finally came to wheezing and spitting up the last splots of conditioner. And then I had a grand idea. I would hurl the bottle, while holding the end, and the centrifugal force would smoosh the last of the product toward the cap. The cap that was broken and full of pointy shards, remember? I might get a couple more farts of product out.

So I gripped the bottle tight, and wound up like an major league pitcher, starting above my head and slamming my arm down towards the floor. And the force of my rage at sneaky grocery retailers, these hip, high tech bottles, and having to use this fucking shit for the past few months, came howling out, like demons from hell, into the mighty sweep of my arm. Sneaky bastards think I won’t get this last bit of conditioner out? I will show them! Oh, how I will show them!

And my hands were wet, of course, because I’m in the shower. And perhaps I don’t know my own strength. The bottle flew out of my hand like a rocket, and fired with full force upon the middle toe of my right foot. And then, the whole world slowed down. I immediately knew that my hand, which had just been gripping the bottle so tightly, was now empty. The vacant space between my fingers seemed enormous.

The electrical impulses traveling from my toe to my brain seemed to take an agonizingly long time. In that amount of time, I wondered how bad it was going to be? Did I just break my toe? Did I just cut my foot open with the broken plastic cap? My toes were soft and innocent at the bottom of my feet, soaked and fragile in the shower.

I remembered we had guests due to arrive later that day, and how we were going to walk all over town. And how funny would it be if I was not able to hang out because I broke my toe with a bottle of conditioner. I began thinking of alternate stories to explain myself. It was a boating accident. I was trying to save a dolphin. I cracked my toe on a shark’s head as I kicked it.

Then I thought about our health insurance plan, with the $5000 deductible. Can doctors really even do anything for a broken toe? Don’t they just tape them together and tell you to hope for the best? I already have such weak feet. If I really had just broken my toe, would I chance it by taping it up myself and hoping I didn’t end up with crooked monkey feet?

It really seemed to take this amount of time for my brain to register the pain, so far away in my foot. When the report finally came, it was bad. It was so bad. I stifled any yowl of pain, since I didn’t want to alarm Dave. When you hear a crash and a yell in the shower, it’s going to make people come running. I didn’t want him to think something was wrong, even though it felt like something was very, very wrong. I didn’t want him to think I was dying.

I was panting and sweating in the shower from the pain. I finally unsqueezed my eyes to get a look at the damage. The bottle cap finally shattered into a zillion plastic pieces and littered the shower floor. My toes were red. All of them were. But I was looking for dents or mis-shapen-ness. I gingerly rubbed my toes in some primal wound tending, trying to reduce the pain sensation with something, anything else. It hurt, but I was able to wiggle my toes. I didn’t see anything ballooning up or turning black or exploding. And while it still hurt like a motherfucker, I took this as a cautious good sign.

I finished up in the shower and gathered the remaining pieces of the evil bottle of conditioner. After drying off and getting dressed, I examined my foot. It was the middle toe that got the brunt. It looked like the little plastic nozzle on the bottle fell right across the top. I was able to move my toe and while it was beginning to swell a little, I didn’t get outrageous pain if I squeezed it. I concluded that it was probably not broken. But, wow. What a dumb thing. Who even does dumb shit like that? Not me.

After that, I told Dave I had a boating accident in the shower.


  1. I would read every word if you wrote a blog post about grocery store consumerism.


  2. I cannot tell you how many times I have thought I bought shampoo and discovered, in the damn shower, that it was conditioner. This is followed by me yelling “Sonofabitch!!” which echoes out of the bathroom, my husband knowing what likely has happened.

    I usually tell myself that I have learned the all-important lesson to never make the shampoo/conditioner mistake again. Hah!

    Hope your toe is faring better.

  3. Katy, I am really super fascinated by grocery stores, marketing, industrial food manufacturing, and consumer apathy. I’m not a scholar, however, and I’m just dancing on the edge of being a hippie. I think if I were to start writing about grocery consumerism, I’d just have to declare my hippie inclinations and stop shaving my armpits. That’s just how it goes.

    BTW, y’all, I refrained from telling a story about the giant zit I’ve had on my forehead all week. It has actually given me goddamed headaches, it hurts so much. But I spared you all because I couldn’t write a story about toes AND zits at the same time.

  4. Thanks for making me laugh out loud once again!

  5. Do please write a post about about the grocery store!

  6. We’ll just deal with the hairy armpits, if that’s the consequence!

  7. This sounds like something I would do!

    Except to be able to share the story so eloquently that is…I meant it, from the grocery store on.

    My most aggravating grocery store purchase is deodorant.

  8. Okay. Just want to mention that it’s been over two weeks since I wrote this post. I *did* pry the damn cap off the conditioner bottle, and I have been squeezing out the last drops of product out. It’s two weeks later, and I think it’s finally done. But if I hadn’t made the extra effort, that would have been two weeks worth of product wasted by their packaging. It’s pure evil. Worse than socialism or communism.

  9. ok. your average bread knife cuts through those fancy bottle like butter. when i get to the splutter point, i heave the bottle out of the shower and slice that effer open when i’m dry. save a jar with a big mouth to put the product in. my hippie ass gets the very last drop of product out of every single bottle i purchase. toothpaste too. slice that sucker open, like you are gutting fish and wipe your toothbrush through it.

    broken toes. i have broken all my toes, except one. some of them several times. to answer your question, the docs won’t do a thing except tape it to its neighbor. oh, wait… they might torture you bit by sticking a popcicle stick between the potentially broken toe and its innocent neighbor and have you twist that sucker so they can get a clear xray. sadists. if you ever have a boating accident in the shower again, grab the end of your toe and pull straight out. do it immediately, while the pain is still building. sometimes the pain ceases. sometimes not. then tape it.

    i once broke my own toe, while dancing at my high school senior banquet. i was all hopped up on crank.
    and i once fell in the shower. that hurt like hell, though after i landed and determined nothing was irrepairably (sp?) broken, i laughed my ass off. it is very comical to try to get up off the floor of the shower when it is all wet and slippery, and your ankles are two feet over your head.

  10. This is why I skip conditioner altogether at this stage of my life. I keep my hair short anyway, so I just use a leave-in spray conditioner (I think it’s a detangler for kids!) after the shower. And I can get the cap off easily enough to coax out the last drops. Grocery store consumerism stories could fill several books…nothing aggravates me more than having to have a master’s degree just to read labels or choose from among hundreds of shampoos!

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