Friday, April 22, 2011

Paint Your Toenails

By Julie Rahm
My husband, John makes us watch the Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC) on the television. I don’t care much for the individualized violence. The appeal of the fighting is probably testosterone driven. Regardless, it is impossible for me to wrestle control of the remote and change the channel. This week, the UFC event involved an eccentric fighter who paints his toenails bright colors. This fighter’s opponent did not take him seriously. UFC fights are a tough primordial event. There is no place in the UFC for exotic pedicures. Everyone expected the free-spirited, nail-painting fighter to lose. The unknowing judged this book by its cover and didn’t give Mr. Neon Pedicure the slightest chance of winning. Well, right from the start, Mr. Neon Pedicure completely ravaged his opponent. Mercifully, the fight finally ended with a choke hold. There was no doubt about the outcome at any moment during the fight. The bigger, more experienced fighter got a severe beating by the free-spirit with painted toenails. It was a good life lesson for all the other fighters and for us as well.

Too often we judge and then underestimate others. In Oriental, we are an eclectic town full of mixed characters. One never knows the experiences of a fellow customer at the Bean. For instance, I have witnessed a novice bragging about his sailing experiences to a circumnavigator. It was painful to watch as the circumnavigator and I exchanged knowing glances. The circumnavigator was gracious and the conversation ended politely without any embarrassment to the braggart.

As another example, a wealthy man often spends time at the fishing pier. He is eccentric and dresses like a homeless person. I guarantee our towns folk have no idea or he would treated differently. Townsfolk see him at the pier and think, “That poor soul is fishing for his dinner”! Nothing could be further from the truth.

I also find it amusing when new friends start discussing the military with my husband. With a pony tail and a few extra pounds, no one would figure him for 26 years in the Marine Corps. In a conversation about the military, unlike the gracious circumnavigator, he will let out enough rope to entangle the unknowing and self-absorbed.

We know Oriental is full of eccentric people. They metaphorically paint their toenails like the UFC fighter. They are comfortable in their own skin without fear of judgment. They are authentic. This authenticity is the ingredient that makes Oriental a special place to live. And, for those with naked toenails, consider my metaphorical tools to help free the real you. The pliers can pull out thoughts of unworthiness and fear of rejection. The flashlight illuminates the spirit inside of you. Be bold. Paint your toenails, be the real you and enjoy the blessings of life.

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