Nails, nailers, nailing and eye gouging

by Ken Carpenter

The longest set of fingernails ever recorded belonged to Melvin Boothe of the United States. They had a combined length of 32 feet 3.8 inches. The longest female fingernails on record grew on Lee Redmond of Las Vegas, and their combined length was 28 feet 4.5 inches.
The longest single fingernail recorded belonged to a guy from India, and it was 48 inches long. There were no reports about him rampaging through the jungle spearing rodents for his dinner.
2009 was a very bad year for long nailers, because Mr. Boothe died and Ms. Redmond lost her fingernails in a car wreck. I am glad I wasn’t in that car with all those projectiles flying around.
Forgive me for a moment as I imagine the logistics of having three feet long fingernails. The only plus I can think of is that you would always have a backscratcher handy.
Can you envision the horror of a simple trip to the bathroom? I am suffering a bit of shrinkage thinking of having those eye gougers even close to my delicate parts. And as for handling toilet paper in a way that may come close to being productive, forget it.
How about driving to the grocery store? I don’t know if the act of driving or moving up and down the aisles with a cart nabbing items would be more challenging.
Time to move on, this is making me nervous. I have the exact opposite problem that inspired those lost souls to cultivate record nails. A few months ago I started the nervous habit of picking at my fingernails with my other nails. In no time they were all down to the quick, some were painful, they were shabby looking and I soon realized that picking up a dime off of a countertop was impossible.
They are worthless for banishing an itch too. To truly kill a bad itch, you must have nails at least long enough to dig out a little meat, if necessary.
I have a pretty long wait ahead of me before my nails are useful again. That is assuming, of course, that I control my nail shortening campaign. I guess I never realized that even a very short nail is a useful item.
Nail biting affects about 30 percent of children between 7 and 10 years of age and 45 percent of teenagers. The ten fingernails are usually equally bitten to approximately the same degree.
I want to make clear right now that I am not a nail biter. There is a name for nail biting, onychophagy, and it is a common compulsive disorder in both children and adults. The thing that bothers me about it is that it is considered a form of self-cannibalism.
I do not want to be associated with any kind of cannibalism, though a good cannibal can liven up a movie considerably. Some of their victims look about half tasty too, but let’s just forget I said that.
Fingernails grow faster than toenails, but they still only add about .0039 inches per day, or 25/64 inches every 100 days. I have a wait ahead of me to replenish my ravaged fingertips.
The middle finger is the fastest growing digit, so for all you road rage people out there who have theirs hanging out the window all the time, I hope you gouge yourself with it. The thumb grows the slowest, which may indicate it is on the lazy side.
If you are right handed, the nails on your right hand grow much faster than your left hand does. If you are ambidextrous, do your own research because nobody cares which one is dominant.
Manicures started about 5000 years ago, roughly the same time in Egypt and China. As to be expected, the rich had longer, brighter colored nails than the poor, showing off the fact that manual labor was beneath them. It may still be that way, though there is no law covering it now.
American women spent $768 million on nail polish alone in 2012. That is mind boggling to me because it doesn’t include manicures and artificial nails.
Sigh. Once again I find myself in the wrong business.
It is just as well though, for women with outrageously long, red fingernails intimidate the crap right out of me.

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