While telling stories about skin problems at lunch yesterday(that's how nasty we can get), I happened to remember the time when a battalion (yes, a battalion!) of warts infested my left foot and threatened to turn it into another major source of embarrassment (as if its bad smell was not enough). It happened five years ago when I was working my ass off in Saudi Arabia.

Wart, as I found out, is a virus that can easily be acquired when in contact with the skin of an infected person. It is also possible to get warts from using towels or other objects used by an infected person. Since I don't share towel (that's gross) I figured that the shoes I sometimes borrowed from other people when playing basketball was the real culprit why I got warts. And yes, perhaps why I got the bad smell, too!

I wasn't really particular about “foot hygiene,” especially when the excitement of playing basketball was already in an overdrive. The thought of dribbling and shooting was enough to make me tremble in excitement (that's no exaggeration). I didn't give a damn whether I would be using Indian-made shoes, or crazily-branded snickers. Who cared? I wore my own socks. But like a goddamn curse, I found out that these small, rough tumors were spreading wildly around my toes. I tried to ignore them, thinking that they would soon disappear without treatment (perhaps because of the smell of my feet). But I was dead wrong. Soon enough, they were freely populating my foot like squatters.


The goddamn warts even managed to cross Asian countries. Yes, I still had them with me when I got back in Manila, wrapped like babies in a pair of newly-bought smooth Burlington socks. It wasn't long until I grew tired of uncomfortably watching the warts comfortably living on my foot. I had enough of it, especially after finding out that my finger on my left hand got infected, too. On the advice of some friends, I used Trosyd, an antifungal cream, thinking that fungi and virus are the same. Of course, it was no use. I tried other medication, some more anti-fungal creams and some nasty chemicals whose name I can't remember anymore, and expectedly, to no avail. In the end, I resorted to using the hard way, the poor man's way: kill 'em through cigarette burn (since virus can be killed with heat). Perhaps the thought of “burning at stake” would be even enough to scare the crap out of them. It hurt like hell, but it still didn't kill the doggone viruses completely. They will grow again if they are not uprooted, I was told. But I'd had enough of the pain so I decided to stop burning the warts and think of some other means. True enough, the pesky warts got back on my feet after a few days, re-rooting themselves and pissing me off again, like nothing happened.

One day while strolling the mall, I dropped by a skin clinic to inquire about warts removal. I asked them how much they would charge me for it, and the attendant said that it depends on the size of warts. I showed her the lone wart on my finger which was way bigger than the ones on my foot. The attendant's mouth dropped slightly open, as if she got a birthday surprise, while looking closely (and amusingly) at the pepper-sized wart like a prized diamond ring. “Baka, one thousand yung ganitong case, Sir...” she said, explaining the characteristic of the wart like it's a living person, “medyo nakakapit na yung ugat ng virus sa second layer of skin ng daliri nyo, e.” I was like floored. I only showed her my hand. I was thinking, what about the other goddamn warts on my foot? Then I estimated the amount in my mind. It would cost me hundreds of thousands of pesos to get rid of those warts! Just for warts, can you believe that? No fu@#$% way!!

I was about to give up when the thought of surfing the Internet for treatment popped out. Perhaps there were some alternative ways. Google. Yahoo. How to treat warts. Banana peel. Natural oil. Crushed Vitamins C tablets. Blah, blah, and more blahs. Forty-five minutes more of searching over the net and I finally came across a no-nonsense, non-commercial, non-expensive advice about warts removal. Salicylic acid! Yeah, the type you can easily buy over the counter. It said that warts can be removed by repeatedly applying the acid and removing the dead skin with nailcutter afterwards for weeks, two times a day. And oh boy, it worked for me!

Amazingly enough, the goddamn warts succumbed in just three weeks. I could still hear the them asking for mercy while I mercilessly applied the acid over my fingers and left foot, har, har, har! They enjoyed living for some time rent-free on my feet, and now it's payback time! Die warts, dieee! Har, har, har!

I still keep salicylic acid in the medicine cabinet just in case the warts contemplate revenge. I was warned that they can recur without warning, so it's best to be forearmed and ready. Since I managed to get rid of my warts, people have been asking for the acid and exact instructions. I'm always glad to lend my salicylic acid which, by the way, cost only around P40. Its cheapness adds to the satisfaction of killing those pesky warts.

What about the smell? I'll get to that some other time. Har har har!


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