No dammit! I just encountered one of the many minefields my bride plants around the house. Minefields in the shape of sharp edges on objects of significance just waiting to jump out and pound my toe.
My bride…my bride…my bride. I swear she puts things in my path just for the sheer joy of taking me to task over my perceived clumsiness…maybe not so perceived. What I do not falsely perceive is the maniacal grin on her face as I hop around and curse loudly and at length.
“Did you break your toe sweety?”
Déjà vu all over again, my big toe contacts the edge of a box that wasn’t there yesterday, I cursed quite loudly and at length…again! To which she questioned, “What did you do this time? You are the clumsiest human….”
“I stumped my toe against this !@#$%^& box you left in my path!”
“Stumped your toe? What did you do, ask it a question it couldn’t answer?”
As tears formed in my eyes, “What are you talking about? I rammed my toe into the box you moved into my way just for that purpose.”
A toss of her hair and an eyeroll before giving me a side eye, “That box hasn’t been moved in months and it is stubbed not stumped.
Stubbed? As the mist from my pain filled eyes began to dissipate, I questioned, “Stubbed, that doesn’t even make sense.” As I said it a thought formed at light speed, “Neither does stumped.” Could it be I’ve been misunderstanding stumped for my entire life? I know my hearing is bad, but it didn’t used to be.
One thing I’m not misunderstanding is the pain and since bad news travels in threes I’ve got at least one more date with an object of significance and I doubt it will be a pillow.
No, I’m quite sure it is “stumped my toe.” Inquiring minds though. I suggest it is right there with “barking one’s shin.”
I ran a social media poll. The outcome was split. I realized I was not going to be vindicated but also I realized I wasn’t stupid. Some folk actually say ‘stump’. I would not be able to stand in front of my bride, nodding my head in superiority while grinning, “You know that stumping my toe thing you ridiculed…Well….” There will be no “Well….”
It turns out either is correct…and therefore incorrect, I guess. Stumped seems to be a little more archaic and more English. My guess it has something to do with my forefathers leaving England for Virginia, the Appalachians and finally South Carolina. There seems to be a lot of odd words that found their way into my vocabulary. “Lawd hep us” if Nannie started a sentence with, “You chaps…” or ended it with “getting too big for your britches.”
Come to think of it, my big toe is all “stoved up”, another archaic English idiom that found its way to the American South. It means incapacitated or damaged and comes from the English word “stave”. I’m also sure there is something lurking about waiting to bark a shin or stump a toe. If not my wife will have it into position soon enough.
The image is the cover of Shawn Byous’s Children’s Book Because I Stubbed My Toe It may be purchased at https://www.amazon.com/Because-I-Stubbed-My-Toe/dp/1623700884
Don Miller’s latest release, Long Ride to Paradise, may be purchased at