Moss, is humor writer from Tennessee. She writes a
weekly human interest column about daily life and the funny
things that happen to everyone.
She has written for the Daily News of Kingsport, Griffin Journal,
Oakridge Now, Atlanta Woman Magazine, Aberdeen Examiner, Angleton
Advocate, and Smyrna AM, a supplement of the Murfreesboro Daily News
Journal. She has been
published by Voyageur Press, McGraw Hill, and the good folks
at Guidepost Books. Her articles have appeared in
numerous anthologies and other publications, both in print and online.
She is a
former board member and past Editor of the Columnists.com, website of the National Society of Newspaper
oldest and largest professional organization
for columnists. She is the Web Editor of
Humorists.com and a founder of the Southern Humorists writers'
organization. She is writer, editor, and webmaster of HumorColumnist.com.
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Online Since 1999
||Fungus Among Us...
Fungus Among Us
It seems that
human-kind is afflicted with a variety of minor ailments, pimples,
warts, moles, sty's, fever blisters, athlete's foot and toenail
fungus, to name a few. I seem to be destined to have them all at one
time or another. I could be president of the trivial ailment of the
This month's featured ailment, for those who choose to participate, is
I thought only mushrooms were fungus, but apparently there are many
different kinds of them, some good, some bad and some that depend on
opinion for a descriptive adjective.
Yeast is a fungus and useful for bread making or for fermenting wine
and beer. Fungus is also what breaks down organic material and causes
decay, replenishing the nutrients in the soil.
Mold is a fungus. It may spoil the food in the fridge or grow in the
bathroom shower. Mole spores are allergens that can make us sick when
we breathe them, but mold is also the source of penicillin that fights
Just as I thought, however, one of the most common funguses is indeed
the mushroom, which like other funguses can also be good or bad.
Mushrooms can be a source of food, but some varieties are deadly
Mushrooms were thought to be magic in days of yore, and were
associated with fairies and witches and toads. Science now knows that
their "magic" probably came from the hallucinogenic
properties of some varieties.
Anyhow, to get back to the subject at hand or at foot in this case, I
have a pesky toenail fungus on one of my toes. These funguses are
especially difficult to treat because they lurk underneath the toenail
and are hard to reach with medications.
I tried simply ignoring it and waiting until it cured itself. I
covered my toenail with nail polish and went about my business until I
discovered my nail had become thick, ugly, and difficult to trim.
Fungus, unlike warts, does not tend to cure itself in time, only to
I had nightmares of mushrooms sprouting from the toes of my shoes and
fairies visiting me to dance in circles around my feet. Clearly, it
was time for something to be done about the nasty toenail fungus.
Actually, fungus can be treated by doctors with systematic fungicides,
which are also said to sometimes cause liver damage. Since I really
like having all of my internal organs functioning and don't actually
believe much in fairies or witches anyhow, I decided to try a home
Nearly all the minor ailments are so common that many folk remedies
exist. In my case, the most common cure I could find was soaking the
toe in vinegar or Listerine. Not too difficult until you realize it is
for 20 minutes, twice a day for two months. I decided on the vinegar
cure since I didn't have any Listerine.
I can now be found nightly dangling my toes in a plastic container of
vinegar while I'm at the computer. The vinegar is said to create an
acid environment in which it is impossible for fungus to grow. I'm not
sure if it is working or not, but I'm beginning to smell a whole lot
like a pickle.
As far as I know, no one ever died of toenail fungus, unless it was
from humiliation. But it is very resistant to remedies. Perhaps the
toenail fungus has evolved like other diseases that eventually become
immune to cures. Or, perhaps the vinegar treatment is just a folk tale
and doesn't actually work at all.
I have another idea. Maybe I should try Listerine.
Copyright 2010 Sheila Moss
Nashville, TN 37219
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