My feet used to be covered in warts. Not like, in a dainty sort of, “look at the tiny little wart and its tiny little wart friend!” sort of way. This was like an army of warts had exploded on my right foot. And then had decided to migrate to my left foot and set up camp there too. Because… I don’t know, symmetry?
Warts are unwieldy creatures. They have no determinable purpose other than alerting us to the existence of witches. They don’t hurt or itch or ache, they’re just ugly. That’s it.
When you get warts, you ask yourself “why me? What did I ever do to deserve this?”
Well… I mean, like, there was this thing. I suspect my infestation of warts was some sort of karmic payback for the time when I was six and I pointed at one of my classmate’s dad’s and asked him why he had warts on his face. My mum promptly steered me away from said warty dad, but the damage was done. The wart gods had heard me and the wart gods never forget.
So when I was in year nine, I got my first wart on the bottom of my foot. From there, they seemed to reproduce like rabbits. Significantly less cute and fluffy rabbits. At peak wart I think I had about 78.
I went down all the usual routes. My mum bought some wart stuff from the pharmacy. I diligently applied it morning, noon and night, but my warts were stubborn. They weren’t willing to call it quits that easy.
Then she tried to cut them off. With scissors. They grew back and now they were angry.
So we went to the doctors to have them burned off. The doctor was confident, but he didn’t know my warts like I did. My warts were the Katniss Everdeen of warts. Nothing would kill them.
When traditional medicine failed, I did the only logical thing: I listened to old-wives’ tales. My best friend’s mum told me that warts could be got rid of by covering them with a banana peel for a few days. So, because high school isn’t hard enough, I decided to be the kid with a banana peel in her shoe. For a week.
I would eat a banana for breakfast and then would slip the peel into my sock and go about my day.
Maths? Why not.
P.E.? Despite being aware of the absurdity of taking off my school shoes and replacing them with trainers, all the while having a (now very brown and putrid-smelling) banana skin in my sock, I did it anyway.
The banana peel method made no discernable difference to my warts or my life, aside from the fact that I ruined five pairs of socks and smelled potently like banana for a week, so after that debacle, I decided to leave my warts be for the moment. They had defeated me with the same tenacity that helped Katniss eventually defeat President Snow.
Instead, I tried to get used to them. I stopped peering at them disgustedly and tried to see patterns in my warts that might make them look pretty, like constellations in the night sky.
They didn’t. They looked like I had 78 warts on my feet.
But eventually, I got my happy ending. With the help of a very unlikely ingredient, I went into wart remission.
It’s a solution you won’t find in any NHS pamphlet or on any WebMD page and by telling you, I am aware I risk angering the wart gods – but for you, dear reader, that is a risk I am willing to take.
So what’s the secret? Patience? Magic?
Nope – Japanese miso paste. Seriously. There’s one old-wives’ tale you don’t have to take with a pinch of salt.