RICHARD ORD: Toe the line and the silver linings will come

​My brain is now finely tuned to seek out the slimmest of silver linings in the ominously darkening clouds in my life.
Big toe beauty. If you've got it flaunt it.Big toe beauty. If you've got it flaunt it.
Big toe beauty. If you've got it flaunt it.

​Silver linings are currently gossamer thin and possibly detectable only through the judicious use of an electron microscope, but I refuse to give up the hunt.

Take my big toe for example. I wish someone would.

One of the pitfalls of being a Saturday slogger in the summer months (I play cricket) is the danger in which you put your body on a weekly basis.

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While it is traditional for batters to use that long piece of willow to dispatch the cricket ball to all parts of the ground, that particular skill requires a keen eye and attention to detail. Since I invariably fall short of that ideal, my foot often comes into play (I either hit it with my bat, or it gets walloped with the ball). Rarely, if ever, have I managed a season with all my toenails intact.

The summer is therefore spent accumulating battle scars (broken hand, ricked back, and crushed toes last year) and the winter putting myself back together again.

The misshapen toenail managed to reform into something close to an actual normality when I noticed a niggling pain and incessant ‘clicking’ in said toe.

A trip to the doctors was undertaken and the chirpy young medic listened patiently to my concerns before getting me to perform some basic movements (toe wiggling, standing on tippy toes) before cheerily declaring that I probably had arthritis in my big toe. Arthritis! Could the day get any worse?

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Amusingly, he suggested that instead of running, I should maybe take up triathlon as it incorporates more cycling and swimming would ease the pressure on my feet that comes from running alone. I didn’t have the heart to tell him I would only run if being chased (and it’d have to be a pretty big dog to get me above a jog).

He also recommended specialist shoes to ease the stress on my toes. ‘The shoes on the market for this sort of thing are not as ugly as they once were,’ he said, adding, ‘I can see you’re quite trendy.’

And there was the silver lining. A young doctor thought I was trendy.

I looked down at my ‘trendy’ trainers. They’re not mine. They’re the ones my youngest son discarded because he’d grown out of them. But hey, free shoes and a compliment. I’ll take that silver lining.

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