While you are looking at this photo of a flower in Dave Milne’s rock garden I am going to tell you about my finger nails. I read a long time ago that people that chewed their finger nails harbored a deep seated insecurity. I accepted that I am basically an insecure person, because I am ashamed to admit that I have been chewing my poor nails down to the quick for over 60 years. It was a habit that I couldn’t break.
I remember back when I was in the 5th grade, in their frustration with my habit, my parents made me an offer. If I would stop biting my nails, they would give me $20. Way back then, $20 was an enormous amount of money, especially for a kid. (In my summer job of picking tomatoes at my uncle’s greenhouse I earned 65 cents an hour.)
I was floored at the offer. $20!!! I stopped biting my nails immediately, but after about a week, I was back gnawing on my fingers, and I watched that $20 disappear from my life.
If the “carrot” didn’t make me quit, my parents decided that maybe the “stick” would. My mom and dad invested in some fiery tasting concoction that they would paint on the tips of my fingernails. But despite my burning mouth, my insecurities must have trumped my taste buds, because I kept on chewing. I sometimes wonder if the concoction in those early days had something to do with my present day love of spicy hot food.
Despite the fact that I have been biting my nails for a lifetime, suddenly a few months ago I quit. I didn’t decide that I should quit, I just stopped biting my nails. Maybe after 65 years of life I realized I had survived this long and no longer felt insecure. I don’t really know what happened.
I must say that I am still not used to having normal size nails. Whenever I scratch my head, it still surprises me to have a hard kind of sharp object doing the scratching. I also have to now continually clean under my nails, something I have never had to do before.
I have no explanation to why this change happened, but it is nice after all these years, not to be embarrassed whenever anyone looks closely at my hands.
Take a look at my paintings: www.davidmarchant.ca