Ok, here’s the thing. I have a truly cosmic theory that could wipe out, hum, maybe 80% of every human being’s most primal fear, that of dying. I am absolutely convinced that the moment we’re born, there is a little invisible tag attached to our big toe that has the exact minute, day, month, and year that we will be exiting old Mother Earth. As sure as I am about this theory, there are some holes I still need to patch up, but we’ll talk more about those later.

Yesterday I was driving to a nearby town to have my car serviced when suddenly a small blue car began to spin and revolve in the lane next to me, wildly out of control at about 50MPH. It looked like cars do when they unexpectedly hit an icy patch in the winter, except for the fact that is was 70 degrees; road conditions were completely dry. I glanced over to the right lane but it was occupied by several vehicles, so there was no escaping in that direction. I braked  hard in order to let the car spin out in front of me instead of into the side of my mommy van and avoided the car slamming into mine by about 6’. As I resumed speed and passed the car I looked down and saw the panicked face of a teenage boy, looking like he didn’t know what had almost hit him. One little moment this way or that and my day, and possibly the rest of my life, and his as well, could have had a very different outcome.

Over the years I have experienced perhaps a dozen incidents like this, some, like being broadsided by a drunk driver whose car exploded into three pieces after hitting me and traveled for one block before smashing into a telephone pole, were much more dramatic than yesterday’s. Sometimes, it’s almost  a voice alerting you to danger, or a sensation so persistent you can’t shake it off. I’ve discussed this with enough people to know I’m not unique; almost everyone who’s willing to talk about this subject admits they’ve had similar experiences.

So, if my Toe Tag Theory is correct, why do I turn ashen every time my flight takes off or is about to land, or we’re flying through turbulent weather? And every time we’re flying at 90MPH on Interstate 95, heading down to Florida, with 18-wheelers surrounding us? The Spousal Unit would appreciate an answer to this also, since I’ve squeezed his hand hard enough to fracture bones. As a true convert to my own theory, I should be cool as a cucumber, because, if it’s my day to go, nothing I’m going to do or any place I’m going to be will prevent it from happening, right? Somehow it doesn’t quite work out that smoothly, for me anyway. But isn’t it a powerful thought nonetheless? If you are supposed to be here for precisely 26 years, 3 months, 21 days, and 11 hours, why stress because whether you get on that rickety antique roller coaster or just lie down to take a nap, your Toe Tag is stamped and you’re outta here, regardless.

Anyway, excellent Pooter news. She went to the vet and the tennis-ball sized tumor on her abdomen turned out to be a giant hematoma caused by Booger’s big plastic cone head ramming into his sister’s side at top velocity; it’s already shrinking dramatically, so The Nanny’s Toe Tag moment is clearly not yet at hand.

Goodness knows there were many times during my nine months with Eve Shelton Models when I thought my career should have been pronounced terminal. Any time I wasn’t out on “go sees” (knocking on doors of potential clients and photographers trying to line up my next booking), I was hanging out at Alberto’s studio, plotting my next career move. Alberto was inconveniently married, but I wasn’t going to let a small obstacle like a wife ruin my day. It was a lot more pleasant spending time with someone who adored you than hanging out at our flat watching Boy watch TV and scratch himself all day long. Alberto truly did devote himself to advancing my career. The problem was that he had never been that successful himself, even at his peak, which was years prior; he was 26 years my senior. All the movers and shakers that he sent me to see were long past their pull date and were getting slightly moldy. I often felt like I was visiting the Crypt Keepers. On the odd occasion, one of these aging gentlemen would take some really good shots of me to add to my portfolio, and sometimes they had access to amazing wardrobes, and even more rarely, they might have a paying job they would book me for, but mostly this period was a learning curve, kind of like community college. Even the bad photos were educational. Wrong hair or make up, or poor posture were quickly corrected in order to be better in the future.

Test shot 1974/Still Hungry

In the gloomy, snowy month of March 1975, three events were going to converge that would allow me to say goodbye to Eve Shelton for good and that would propel me toward the destiny I had dreamed about since I was 12 years old.

8 thoughts on “TOE TAG THEORY #13

  1. I just checked my toe! Must have left the tag behind when I had my last pedicure. I hope the salon didn’t tie it on someone else’s toe! Or do I? I’ve been in several near-death situations, so believe in your theory.

    I may have mentioned this in a previous comment, but love your style of writing. I wish I hadn’t been so crazy busy the last few weeks, so I could have been reading them right along. But I will catch up! Also, your photos are gorgeous – they deserve to be bigger. What an exciting life in NYC!

  2. I keep my toe tag in the glove box… comes in various color swatches to match my toe-nail polish. Kind of falls from the advice my mom gave me about always wear clean underwear………only I kicked it up a notch.

    great piece!

    • It certainly does take the underwear advice from Mom to a whole new level. Somehow I suspected you would be stylish enough to keep color-coordinated toe-tags on hand! Love the new photo.

  3. As always, I so enjoy your writing style and topics. I wonder about that too – as my brain never. stops. pondering. (ugh). Am I here for a specific time? It would be nice to be rid of fear and just accept that if it’s my time to go, nothing is going to stop it – and conversely – nothing will happen to shorten my stay. A psychic I went to a few years ago told me I will die when I’m 88. I was alarmed because I hadn’t asked for a death date, but also relieved in a way that I have so much time left… But, what if she’s wrong? So, I’m still afraid! I also find it interesting that my favorite number has always been 8. Hmmm.

    • Thanks for reading. I really, really do believe in this funky little theory and yet am perpetually perplexed at why I’m still afraid to fly and drive on I95? Maybe I can’t fully commit to my own onsanity?!?

  4. Renee, this is indeed a most pleauurable read! You certainly have the gift of humor that I think is perpetually applicable to everyone — not those of us who are considered old. I simply enjoyed reading this piece that was sent to me by WordPress. As for me, your word choice at opportune times makes me wonder if you’ve had some training (even open-mic Monday’s) in comedic timing. At any rate you got me busting up which is just awesome insofar as covering politics and reporting on the horrendous nature of humankind, one needs some good comedic writing to stay sane.

    Okay then…The Toe Tag Theory #13 does have some merit and I quite agree with you that every human being from time to time thinks about death. However, even as funny as you presented it, I respectfully disagree witht the assessment of the “program.” Why? Simple! I do believe that all of us are suseptible to the what if syndrome. In fact, you support this notion in your writing with; “…cool as a cucumber, because, if it’s my day to go, nothing I’m going to do or any place I’m going to be will prevent it from happening, right?” This is where I believe that we were created to enact our survival instincts.

    Thank you so much for following my blog! It definitely makes this writer feel great and less prone to angst. Btw, it is lovely meeting you as well. Until next time, cheers!


    • Jon-Paul, thanks for taking the time to follow my foolishness and offer up such eloquent comments. The truth is none of us will ever really know what’s awaiting us until that moment itself, but it doesn’t hurt to speculate!

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