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Some people’s egos are so big that they have a swollen head. I consider those people rank amateurs. My ego is so big that I have a swollen foot.

Obviously, a swollen foot is nowhere near the magnitude of awful that many other people are suffering in 2022, ranging from long COVID to denial of necessary medical procedures. (Government is supposed to take steps to provide for the welfare of its citizens, and should step up and toe the line.) But nonetheless, a swollen foot is an affliction that does rAnkle. It has reduced my enjoyment of walking, my sole form of regular outdoor activity. I was hoping it might heel over time, but currently it remains an arch-nemesis.

Conveniently, my foot is not strictly necessary for my job as a writer. But if I tried to argue that I didn’t need my foot at all, I wouldn’t have a leg to stand on. Obviously I’d like my foot to improve. Why is it swollen? I didn’t step on any jellyfish, and I’ve avoided any poisonous snakes — by which I mean that I didn’t eat them. I was also not bitten by any venomous snakes, and consumed no venison steaks or vitamin shakes. I wasn’t sure what was going on, so I consulted the only doctor I know with no co-pay and no waiting time: Dr. Google.

Dr. Google suggested that swollen feet should be elevated. I don’t have an elevator in my house, so the best I could do was to spend the entire morning upstairs. I also figured that a good way to elevate is to pay homage and buy presents, since that’s how most people prefer to be elevated. I tried to pay homage with a poem, but there were too many feet (which makes sense given the meter). So I went online to buy my feet a new pair of sandals. Unfortunately, swollen feet have made finding shoes that fit exceedingly difficult, which is inevitable since I have wide feet to begin with. You can’t fight fit fat foot fate.

I was feeling de-feet-ist about the whole thing, until my partner suggested that a change in diet might help bring down the swelling. Why not try avoiding carbs for two weeks and see if it helps? Why not indeed. “Carbs” is short for “carbohydrates,” and certainly in this weather it’s very important to hydrate. Carbohydrates are the basic building blocks of every meal that you want to build on top of. Whether it’s the bread for your sandwich, the rice for your curry, or the cracker for your cheese (one of my less flattering nicknames), carbs are what tie a meal together and make it pleasurable to eat.

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So naturally, it’s been great fun avoiding them.

Admittedly, I come to this revelation somewhat late, as low-carb/no-carb diets have been “a thing” for decades now, but also I was excited about jean jackets in the late 90s. In my defense, apparently a lot of people are only just now discovering Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill.” And I’m sure plenty of people who have had to avoid carbs long-term have thought to themselves, “And if I only could, I’d make a deal with God...”

But they’re more likely to make a veal with cod, because no-carb means eating a lot of meat and veg, like a carnivorous rabbit, which is certainly something that would not surprise me if it was the next terror of 2022 after the monkeypox. The killer bees may not have ended up being a threat (even if the killed bees are), but carnivorous rabbits may be coming soon to your neighborhood. Even the New York Times recently wrote an article on the rising popularity of cannibalism.

I’d worry that my plump foot would make me a target, but usually cannibals avoid humor writers because they taste funny. Still, just to be on the safe side, I’m continuing with this carb-avoidance plan for at least another week. Hopefully my foot will benefit from this, although there’s the possibility that it won’t.

Either way, it’ll be swell.

Seth Brown is an award-winning humor writer, the author of “The Disapproval Of My Toaster,” and all’s swell that ends swell. His website is RisingPun.com.


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