Communicator, cooker, drinker, poet. Grew up in a mining town, wore a hard hat.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

finger nailed

My mother tells me over cheap wine that I need to be more conscious of my corporate work environment. Look around the office, she says. I’ll bet you won’t find a single VP…I cut her off, or bite her off, if you will. I think you’d be surprised by what goes in and comes out of those people’s mouths and furthermore, it is without doubt that if I followed the general moral example of the management team, I would be condemned to burn in hellfire for all of eternity. Is that really what you want for your first born, I ask? That’s not the point, she says. Of course not, I think.

I am an adult and as such I heed the advice of fellow adults. Especially when they’re related to me and Christmas is coming up. Therefore, I am trying to quit biting my fingernails. Having recalled the existence of some toxic sludge my parents used to paint on my thumb in an attempt to have me stop sucking it, I haul ass to the Pharmasave and find a clerk. I’m trying to quit biting my fingernails, I tell her. She looks at me as though I’ve got the clap, fiddles with her hair which has been died some soft shade of radioactive and tells me she’s got just the thing. Parents come in all the time, she says, trailing off with her hands comfortably by her sides, that haughty bitch.

I whip out my VISA card, which I hope the lovely Melinda will notice is a step up from the student kind and bow in complete deference to the great corporate mogul that is me. She does not. I pay, grab my toxic sludge and leave.

Seated in the comfort of my Victorian low-rise apartment, away from the judgmental eyes of the properly finger-nailed world, I apply the sludge gently, at first. Then, mesmerized by the activity, begin to apply more aggressively. Minutes later, my fingernails, hands and select areas of my thighs and calves have been doused. I sit, turn on the tube and wait for my invitation to the world of non-compulsive, have-their-shit-together, people. Several commercial breaks later, distracted by the pretty lights and intelligent dialogue of primetime, I try and sneak in a quick chew. To my dismay, I begin to gag, dry-heave, attempting in an apoplectic frenzy to get the evil taste of childhood out of my mouth. Noooo!!!! I scream. Glaring at the bottle, I wish hard that looks could bring inanimate objects to life and kill them, not in a nice way. The grey, orange and white label innocently proclaims “Nail Biter.” I decide that it would more suitably be labelled “We’re secretly trying to poison you because anyone who bites their fingernails is CLEARLY a terrorist.” But admitting to myself the importance of the covert in the great fight against minorities and their inherent evil, I digress.

I was promised a safe, effective method of healing from a dirty habit. Instead I’m chugging a beer in the shower, trying desperately to rid myself of the evil stuff. Fuckers, I think again.

Newly washed, moisturized and thoroughly upset, I scan the package for customer service numbers and begin to imagine the string of expletives I will unleash on the unfortunate Sally Hansen rep who will answer my call. Sadly, there is no customer service number to speak of. And even if there were, it’s half past nine on a Friday night and they’d surely be closed. I begin to imagine the string of expletives I would’ve offloaded had there been voicemail. Fuckers, I think.

In an effort to maintain some semblance of sanity, I call my best friend and invite him over for a joint. By this I mean, in an effort to maintain some semblance of sanity, I call my best friend and coyly hint that he come immediately over with weed and sandwiches. He is of a good breed, being related to the Guttenberg character who invented the printing press and as such, appears promptly, bearing gifts.

After a few good drags and a quick bite I am decidedly less insane, though still pissed about the obvious conspiracy between Sally Hansen, my parents and the rest of the properly finger-nailed world. Don’t think I don’t know. Best-friend Jonathan, sensing my anger still brewing, leans over, passes the joint and exhales, lesbians all have fingernails like yours, he says gently. They’re considered practical, cool even. I, in turn, exhale and with a deep sigh of relief think to myself: what a civilized bunch, these lesbians you speak of. After a brief moment’s thought, I forgive Jonathan his fingernails, make peace with my own and with Melinda and settle into the sofa with a fair-sized roach for what will now undoubtedly be, an okay night in the world of the compulsive.