Fingernails

Finally getting around to reading Naked by David Sedaris, I was drawn to his narrative regarding his smoking addiction. While I expect my lungs would explode if I took up cigs, I realised that I had a similar habit that I needed to kick.

I’ve been gnawing on my fingers for as long as I can remember. It was just something that I always did. Insanely short fingernails were the norm, and I always wondered how people opened pocket knives, unclasped watches, and did other activities that most take for granted. In the back of my mind I always thought about what my stubby fingernails presented a rather bad image of myself to friends, interviewers, and assorted strangers. When I was applying for jobs or such, I made an effort to stop for about a week before. If I remembered, that is. And I usually didn’t.

Whenever I actually did make a legitimate effort to stop, I either found myself unintentionally chewing, or purposely diving in to relieve stress and clear my mind. It’s weird, but yes, they were a stress reliever and helped me think through things.

So one of my New Year’s Resolutions was to stop munching down on my fingernail like rednecks eat TV dinners. (Find better metaphor). This was the resolution I expected to fail immediately. I would be back on chewin’ in no time at all, based on my previous efforts.

I think the key is the first fortnight. And gum, lots of gum. Amazing amounts of gum. I’ve been accused of having an oral fixation, but it’s true. (insert joke here) I’m constantly putting random objects in my mouth and chewing. Paper, glue, fingers, thumbtacks (just the plastic part!), you name it, I chewed on it. And I still do, but now it’s gum. Did I mention gum? Like Costco-sized packs upon packs of gum? Whenever I get the urge I pop one in my mouth and keep at it until it passes.

Once you get to the point where your nails look presentable and your fingers aren’t resembling a shantytown, it’s difficult to justify destroying that.

It’s been a month now.

Typing feels weird, like my finger angle is wrong. Pressing buttons and other tasks I brute-forced with my fingers is now being messed with because my nail isn’t giving in as much as my finger would have. Simple tasks are being totally re-evaluated, because my fingers don’t feel like they always have. And they aren’t responding like I’ve always expected them to.

Since I’ve never had nails, I’m not entirely sure how to care for them. How long should they be? How do I clean underneath them? WHAT THE HECK.

Still. They’re pretty cool so far.

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