I’m looking at a line of ten people. I wonder if they’re a family, or friends, or neighbors who are close, or possibly neighbors who don’t even like each other. Maybe they’re members of the same church or school. Later, I find out that they’re in the same department of a medium-sized company.
They stand in a group, watching each other. The first one, on the left, requires support and nurturing. He leans a little into the group.
The second one tries to look normal, but it’s great effort for him to stand straight and he struggles with ordinary aspects of life. Half his body is flattened due to pressure from the person to his right.
The third one tries to stand straight and appear honest and forthright, even as he squeezes his friend next to him. In the workplace, he succeeds in presenting himself as strong and insists on his own way by silently crushing his colleague. When he competes with more recently hired employees, most of the time he comes out on top. He shows only a hint of weakness with a slight arch in his back, which suggests to those who are salivating after his elevated position, that his old age is fast approaching.
The next one is good friends with the third. They have a lot in common. He’s interested in the latest clothing styles, hoping this will divert attention from increasing age, which he works to hide. He tries to remember to stand up straight so this isn’t noticed by the younger members of the staff.
The fifth is physically large and self confident. Friendly and well organized, he’s admired for his good ideas as well as his easy charm. He struggles with hiding visible signs of an old fungus that’s been cured, but signs can still be seen if he doesn’t cover it up.
Slightly insecure, the sixth bends towards the rest of the group. Often fearful, he waits for approval from the others before sharing his thoughts about the company’s next steps.
The seventh is handicapped, yet has succeeded in hiding his disability. There’s a metal spike in his back which caused nerve damage and a subsequent lack of feeling. The physician who cared for him bungled the job. His mind is intact and his ideas are respected by others. Even when he speaks softly, everyone listens.
The next one is overweight, but still attractive. After his last surgery his build seemed even wider. Now, his head appears too small and doesn’t match the rest of his body. He’s easy to get along with and popular with his peers.
The ninth one hides behind the big guy who is positioned next to him. He’s insecure and unable to stand up for himself. Always willing to compromise, he has difficulty making decisions. He’s anxious to get out of the way of others who want to be noticed.
The tenth one is well formed, straight, confident and intelligent. He has nothing to prove and nothing to struggle against. His company is sought after because he’s kind to everyone and expresses good ideas that help the company succeed.
Note: No one guessed that this is me placing a personality on each one of my ten toes, based on their physical condition and position on my feet.
Your descriptions remind me how important it is to say something about the people in my memoir. I sometimes forget that though they are real in my mind, I need to introduce them to my readers.
Catherine, do you have an idea who the ten people are? If I’d seen your response before choir rehearsal tonight I would have told you…