A New Spin on Cannibalism

My whole life I have had a fairly common neurosis: chewing my fingernails.  Except that mine goes beyond the nail to include the skin at the side of the nail and a fair way down the finger, especially on my thumbs.


Periodically I go into remission.  Up until just recently I had managed to keep nice nails for a couple of years, so nice that they actually got filed and painted (with clear polish… that’s as froo-froo as I get!)

Then a few months ago I slammed the middle finger of my left hand in the car door.  Aside from feeling incredibly stupid and having to push my fingernail back down onto my finger (and my lunch back down into my stomach), it wasn’t a big deal.

Except then I had this awesome mangled finger to pick at.  And once I had the one, I might as well tug at another until it rips, and then I might as well straighten it out by removing more of the nail with my teeth, and then… 

I currently have four chew toys on my hands.  I don’t know how I manage to leave the other six fingers alone (when I was a kid I chewed all of them all the time.)  During the day I leave them all alone because I’m always doing something else with my hands… typing, cooking, changing dirty diapers, etc.  But when I sit down to watch tv or a movie in the evening, I won’t even realize I’m gnawing until I’ve already started in on the healed bits.

Once I bought myself a really cheap silver ring with a cool spiral on it and I made myself promise that if I wore it, I would have to stop decimating the finger it was on.  That made me quit for a while.  So I just need to buy myself jewelry?  What am I, courting my hands?  

Do I need to wear gloves?  It’s so hot, though!  Tabasco won’t work because I LOVE spicy food.  Do I need to include more protein in my diet so I don’t consume my own self?  Do I need extensive psychotherapy?  (Like THAT isn’t obvious!)

Could be worse, I suppose.  At least I have the opportunity to ponder the mysterious workings of the human mind.

I just can’t hold anything up for someone to look at closely or else they’re bound to remark, “Ooooh!  What’d you do to your finger?”

Sigh.  I ate it.


Filed under psychology, Uncategorized

3 responses to “A New Spin on Cannibalism

  1. Joy

    I’m not sure if I should even say this but I’m going to. I have a little “issue” with germs and on my hands in particular. I’m not quite OCD but I’m probably pretty close. Okay, given that said, do you have ANY idea how many germs are under your fingernails? Unless you scrub with a brush at every single hand washing, your eating what you put your fingers in or on. I know this sounds gross so I’ll put it as gently as I can, after you change a dirty diaper, do you brush your nails with a brush? Or even after you go to the bathroom? If not, all that bacteria is under your fingernails!! You could NOT pay me enough money to put my fingernail in my mouth.

    Not sure if that will help or make it worse. Please don’t chew your fingernails. Buy 10 rings if you need to stop!

  2. I’ve tried for years to stop chewing my fingernails. Well, I take that back, I’ve never really tried. It’s just something to do.

  3. I had a friend in high school who had this habit. She was eventually able to quit, much to the dismay of the neighbors, because she was a twin and the only way people were able to tell the two of them apart was to look at the hands. Once she stopped nobody could tell them apart.

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