Alan Chartock: My first pedicure, but not my last

GREAT BARRINGTON –Look, let’s get this out of the way. I admit it: I went to the Lucky Nails at the Kmart Plaza in Great Barrington to have the first pedicure of my life.

This is pretty big, since I have enough trouble just getting to the barber every three weeks or so. But the Lovely Roselle insists that my nails are lethal instruments and says she has suffered through our 42-year marriage with scars on her feet and legs to prove it. Can I help it that in the middle of the night, her legs and my toes meet by accident?

Anyway, she’d had it. And one day, fed up and in one of her fits of independence, she scheduled me with her favorite nail professional, Kelly Le.

She not only told me that I was going but added that she was going with me to make sure that I showed up. Now, I don’t like anyone touching my feet. I’m ticklish and maybe I just harbor too many immature masculine stereotypes.

But I went and it was really good. They stick your feet in swirling hot water solution and they trim and file and use a sort of sandpaper to smooth out your skin. There’s even a little massage. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that Kelly is a very pretty woman. Vietnamese by birth, she reads and studies and admires other people who do the same things. Roselle says that my feet have never looked better. I’m going back.

Last week I wrote a column in which I referred to the fiercely anti-Semitic Richard Wagner in a bit about those people who think they should be let off the hook because “they were all doing it.”

It concerned baseball players who were excluded from the Hall of Fame because they took steroids. Now I referred to Wagner by his last name only but somewhere between me and The Eagle or who knows what or where, a gremlin changed Wagner to “Honus” Wagner.

An alert reader and frequent Eagle letter writer, Michael Simons, shot me an email that began, “Oy, Honus Wagner an anti-Semite?” I cracked up, especially when he wrote, “Is this substantiated or just out of my father’s playbook in which almost everyone with the exception of FDR was an anti-Semite?” He followed that insightful comment with, “I shall give up my pursuit for that most valuable and most elusive of all baseball cards. (Honus Wagner.)”

The first thing I did was look up Honus Wagner and there is absolutely no evidence that the guy was an anti-Semite, even though he was of German heritage as are many other Americans who are not anti-Semites. Of course, there have never been many Jewish players in the major leagues. Hank Greenberg, Sandy Koufax, and Kevin Youkilis are the greatest of them.

I have no idea why so few Jews made it to the bigs. I don’t know if it’s a question of aptitude or attitude but it’s tough to imagine that all those big-leaguers who were so anti-black didn’t have something left over for the Jews. Anyway, there is not one piece of proof that I can find that Honus Wagner was an anti-Semite. On the other hand, Richard Wagner, the opera composer, was, and I have no patience for those who seem to think he should be forgiven because “they were all doing it.”

Finally, Murray the Westie, world’s cutest dog, asked me to tell you that the folks at the Pink Truck Wash and Wag are opening a store in Great Barrington opposite the Kmart. They have rented space on a huge billboard behind Bunnell’s Auto Parts on State Road.

Murray, who is to be featured with their other clients, cruelly said to me the other day, “Now I’ll be more famous than you.”

Originally published in the Berkshire Eagle, 1/19/13

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One Comment on “Alan Chartock: My first pedicure, but not my last”


  1. [...] unstoppable solipsism, I would like to point the reader to this recent blog post, titled “My First Pedicure, But Not My Last,” which was originally printed as his column in The Berkshire Eagle. I believe it speaks for [...]


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