We’re ankle-deep in Joyce Carol Oates foot Twitter!
Want us to back up a few paces? OK.
We’ll dip a toe in, because this one might become permanently singed in the brain if we don’t provide enough warning.
(Official warning: the image below may be too graphic for some.)
Oates, 82, a prolific author and longtime Princeton resident, tweeted about her Saturday morning walk in the woods (that’s the G-rated version of this tweet). The short version: don’t hike — or walk in the woods — in sandals, everyone!
The problem was that Oates had brushed up against something menacing on the hike — which she realized afterward. Whatever it was caused big yellow, purple and liver-hued bubbles to form on her left foot. Her skin, which appeared to be reacting to some allergenic or dangerous plant, turned a deep purple and pink, as if it was severely bruised.
“So important to wear proper hiking shoes,” the National Book Award winner tweeted, sharing a graphic close-up of her foot. “Never/ever walk in the woods in sandals. the instep of my left foot this morning–poison ivy? poison oak? must’ve stepped in something…”
Some tried to help Oates, suggesting, based on the reaction, that the offending plant was maybe giant hogweed, otherwise known as giant cow parsley, or giant cow parsnip.
Others shrunk away in horror, sharing their revulsion with the masses in order to process the trauma.
“Thank you for all your suggestions & sympathy,” Oates later tweeted. “I have subsequently seen a doctor, am taking antibiotics & have steroid cream. doctor doesn’t know what it is, however–venomous weed or insect. (also had a tetanus shot.) pain & itching have subsided. moral is: proper footwear!”
Oates, author of “The Gravedigger’s Daughter,” “Them,” “Black Water” and “What I Lived For,” among 58 novels alone, was a creative writing professor at Princeton University from 1978 to 2014 and is a five-time Pulitzer Prize finalist.
She was known for her quirky tweets long before Susan Orlean drunkenly live-tweeted her disappointing encounter with candy-coated fennel seeds last month, to pandemic acclaim.
Oates, a member of the New Jersey Hall of Fame, drew attention in 2015 after tweeting a reply to a photo of Steven Spielberg posing with an animatronic dinosaur from “Jurassic Park.”
“So barbaric that this should still be allowed,” she said in reply to Spielberg smiling in front of the dead-looking triceratops, as if he had poached the animal. “No conservation laws in effect wherever this is?”
Oates later confirmed the tweet was indeed a joke.
Here are some of the many ways people acknowledged Oates’ foot photo Saturday night … or attempted to process the Twitter trauma.
Get well soon, Joyce Carol Oates.
Of course, there were also a fair few defenders of Oates and her foot tweet, Kathy Griffin included.
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Amy Kuperinsky may be reached at [email protected]. Send a coronavirus tip here.