Three Wise Guys

By Joe Heim, Justin Rude and Dan Zak
Sunday, November 11, 2007

Dear Wise Guys:

Do you think goldfish get lonely and bored? I have one goldfish in a one-gallon bowl, and it seems bored. I had two goldfish, but this survivor went after the other one, who I think was diseased, and I found it floating. I don't want another goldfish, but I feel bad for my lone survivor.

-- Jessica

Dan: If I were stuck in a bowl, would I want to always be trapped with someone or always be trapped alone? Turns out it doesn't matter much for an actual goldfish. "They can live perfectly fine in a solitary lifestyle as long as they have clean water and the right food," confirms Jack Cover, general curator at the National Aquarium in Baltimore. And since your surviving goldfish seems to be a homicidal maniac, maybe it's best to sentence him to a lifetime of solitary confinement.

Joe: You could always buy it a cat.

Dear Wise Guys:

I recently sustained mild injuries to my toenail and am in desperate need of some unqualified medical advice. I went hiking with too-small boots, and the nail on one of my big toes turned purple, then the blood blister that had formed under the nail burst. I'd hoped the nail would somehow reconnect with the toe, but, alas, six weeks later I'm letting go of that dream.

I'm now faced with the conundrum of whether to trim the dead toenail down to the base of the nail (where it's still viable) or to just leave it alone and let it grow out. What should I do?

-- Anne

Joe: Looking for unqualified medical advice? You've come to the right place. As a regular (albeit horrible) soccer player, I've often had that very problem. My advice: Leave it alone. You've already done enough damage.

Just to be safe, though, and to keep the lawyers happy, I called Michael Theodoulou, a podiatrist and director of the Center for Foot Disorders in Washington. He concurred with my amateur opinion. (Think of all the money we saved you!) "The nail serves as a biological dressing for the contusion," Theodoulou says. "Unless it's showing signs of infection, I would allow nature to take its course."

Hey, didn't I just say that? The foot doc also says that you should expect to lose the nail and that your new nail may look different when it comes in.

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